You’re waiting for the bus and drop your phone in the street just as the bus comes around the corner. Before you can grab it, you hear a crunch as the front wheel of the bus meets your phone. How do you feel?
How would your response be different if you already knew you were getting the brand new phone you wanted in two days for your birthday? Why?
Would you spend a large amount of money to fix your broken phone? Why or why not?
Paul and Timothy are writing to the believers in the city of Corinth. They have been suffering a lot of hardship and persecution. Paul has been in danger from people he once considered his friends and also from his enemies. He has been imprisoned, beaten, stoned with rocks, and shipwrecked 3 times among other things. (You can read how they describe it in 2 Corinthians 1:8, 4:8-9, and 11:25 if you want).
2. Have you ever thought about what it will be like to be with Jesus in his presence? Revelation 21:1-7 tells us a little of what it will be like. What in the description sounds most appealing to you?
3. In the situations Paul and Timothy are facing it would be very tempting to be discouraged and give up, but verse 16 says they don’t lose heart. What do they give as reasons for this (verses 16-18)?
4. According to verse 18, what is their focus on? What are examples of these “unseen” things?
5. What are they not focusing on? What might be some of the seen things in Paul’s life at this time?
6. Why are they focusing on the unseen rather than the seen?
7. How would it make a difference in facing hard times if you know they are only temporary?
8. Consider a line representing eternity. It would be infinite (without end) in both directions. Now think about your life compared to eternity? If this line represented all of history behind us and all of eternity in front of us, how much of this line would represent your life here on earth?
9. Read Matthew 6:19-21. In what kinds of temporary treasures do people invest their time, talents, and finances?
10. What kinds of things are eternal?
11. As you look back at the line representing eternity, are you investing most of your life for the dot or the line? How is putting too much investment in temporary things like pouring money into a broken phone when you are going to get a new one in a few days?
12. Why is it so difficult to keep our minds on things that are eternal?
13. Are there any changes you need to make in order to live more for eternity in your everyday life? Changes in what you value? Changes in how you spend your time? Changes in your priorities?
FOR FURTHER STUDY
For other illustrations of the concept and further study, check out Roger Hershey’s article http://crupressgreen.com/an-eternal-perspective
What ideas do you have that could improve this study? Are there creative things you do to bring this topic home to your students? Please share with the community clicking the FEEDBACK button or leaving a comment below.