Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more….And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:1, 5)
Over the past two weeks, we’ve seen that 1) our longing for timelessness is good and God-given, but that 2) sin has ensured we will all die with “unfinished symphonies.”
Where’s the hope? Our hope is found in Jesus Christ walking out of the tomb that first Easter morning with a redeemed body that could not be destroyed again. The resurrection was Jesus’s way of declaring that our longing for immortality has been right all along and that through him, we too can experience eternal life.
But Easter wasn’t just the beginning of eternal life. Easter marked the inauguration of God’s eternal kingdom which God alone will finish when he brings heaven to earth to make “all things new” (Revelation 21:5).
So, if Jesus is coming back to finish his kingdom, why does it matter what you and I do in the present? Why do we care about managing our time well today? Because God has invited you and me to co-labor with him to build for his eternal kingdom (see 1 Corinthians 15:58)! That is what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians 3:9 when he calls us “God’s fellow workers.”
Our work matters today because it is a means of glorifying God and serving others. But our work also matters for eternity because God can use it to build his kingdom. But because God alone will finish that work and consummate the marriage between heaven and earth, we can embrace this freeing truth today: God doesn’t need you or me to finish our to-do lists. If the things on our to-do lists are on God’s to-do list, he will complete them with or without us.
God is directing a master narrative for the world and you and I are just one of billions of actors in that story. In his great grace and wisdom, he has given us exactly as much time as we need to participate in that grand drama and work towards his kingdom. Not a moment more. Not a moment less. In the words of Job, “A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed” (Job 14:5). Thank God for those limits that ensure that he alone will get the glory for finishing the work we leave unfinished.