Alcorn’s reward principle # 4: When we see our lives through the lens of eternity, our attitude toward wealth will change drastically. Alcorn wrote what a recent dying friend said to him with a smile: “I don’t buy jumbo shampoo like I used to. I don’t even buy green bananas.” David in Psalm 39: 4-7 also had the proper perspective on life in light of eternity:
“O Lord, make me know my end
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting I am!
5 Behold, you have made my days a few handbreadths (the width of a hand),
and my lifetime is as nothing before you.
Surely all mankind stands as a mere breath! Selah
6 Surely a man goes about as a shadow!
Surely for nothing they are in turmoil;
man heaps up wealth and does not know who will gather!
7 “And now, O Lord, for what do I wait?
My hope is in you.
David described the brevity of life as a breath. Because this life is so short, we might conclude it’s inconsequential. Our lives may seem like pebbles dropped in a pond. They create ripples for a moment, tiny wrinkles that smooth out, then are gone forever. What do you know about your great-grandparents? What will your great-grandchildren know about you? Our brief stay here may appear unimportant, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Bible tells us that although others may not remember us or care what our lives here have been, God will remember perfectly, and He cares very much—so much that the door of eternity swings on the hinges our present lives.
Alcorn makes this possible life changing observation: “Eternity will hold for us what we have invested there during our life on earth.”