God describes himself as holy. Holy means perfect, set apart, free from evil. And God wants us to follow his example. The only way to holiness is through spiritual transformation, becoming like the only perfect human—Jesus Christ.
Because God is holy, we should be and can be holy. We could never do this on our own—only through Christ’s work in us. If holiness seems too lofty a goal, think of it as a process. You became holy when you accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. You are becoming more holy as you follow him. And you will become completely holy when you reach heaven.
The Eternal Dimension of Generosity
This great section on restoration ends with a stress on the bringing in of the nations as holy priests to God and the eventual creation of new heavens and a new earth. Neither our ultimate goal nor our optimal quality of life can be realized in this present world; it can only be realized in the new world Jesus will create, as all nations are brought to holiness and submission to him.
The fact that the climax of Isaiah involves worship through offerings is also instructive for us as we think about the significance of our giving. One of the ways in which we seek God’s coming kingdom is by using our resources in a way that reflects their eternal destiny—by storing up treasures in heaven, where they will last forever (see Mt 6:19–21; 1Ti 6:17–19). Take a few moments to reflect on the following brief observations regarding the eternal dimension of generosity:
Let me assume the role of “eternal financial counselor” and offer this advice: choose your investments carefully; compare their rates of interest; consider their ultimate trustworthiness; and especially compare how they will be working for you a few million years from now. —Randy Alcorn
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. —Winston Churchill (1874–1965)
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose. —Jim Elliot (1927–1956)
The only antidote I can find in the Scripture for greed and materialism is letting loose and giving what God has given you to help other people. If you do not release what God has entrusted to you, it will wrap its arms around your throat. —Chip Ingram
The great use of life is to spend it for something that outlasts it. —William James (1842–1910)
I have held many things in my hands and I have lost them all. But whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that I still possess. —Martin Luther (1483–1546)
We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap. —Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918–2008)
The less I spent on myself, the more I gave to others, the fuller of happiness and blessing did my soul become. —Hudson Taylor (1832–1905)
Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality. —A. W. Tozer (1897–1963)
Think About It
- Spend some time reflecting on the quotations above.
- How can you think about your giving in terms of eternity?
- What are the benefits of living your life with eternity in mind?
Pray About It
Lord, help me to live with eternity in mind.