When we consider eternal life as well as current life in the investment timeline, we get to have an in-depth consideration and long-term view on investment, because eternal life is forever. It is incomparably longer than current life. It does not mean that current life should be taken lightly or ignored. God wants to bless us when we are living on the earth. He also expects us to live according to His words. The priority of our wishes changes when we think of eternal life. We will desire that everything goes well and also expect a permanent inheritance in eternal life. As we get more faithful to Jesus and more intimate with him, we will long for and wait for the reward in eternal life.
David and the apostle Paul are the representative ancestors of faith who yearned for more in eternal life than in current life. Psalm 84 shows how earnest David’s desire for eternal life was. He confessed that a day in the kingdom of God is better than a thousand elsewhere. He also hoped to be a doorkeeper in the house of God rather than dwell comfortably in the tents of the wicked. Despite being a king of a country, he knew that the value of eternal life in heaven would be more precious than a long, comfortable life on earth.
The apostle Paul sacrificed and devoted all his life for the glory of God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:7–8, Paul said that the crown of righteousness was prepared for him in heaven because he had fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith to the end. The apostle Paul, who was filled with the Holy Spirit, wisdom, and knowledge and also witnessed heaven himself, was one who only lived for eternal life. Both of them were distinguished men of honor, learning, and status in life, but they are all the ancestors who knew the existence of eternal life and invested their lives in it.
Given further insight on investment, the range of targets expected to gain in current and eternal life gets considerably wider. The selection criteria for investment assets are not limited to the future value of money, like in the capital markets. In eternal life, the value of money on earth is gone away. However, we can get even more precious things in eternal life with what we have now. In Luke 18:22, one of the rulers came to Jesus and asked how he could get eternal life. Jesus answered that there would be treasure in heaven for him if he sold his properties and gave them to the poor. It is not known exactly in the Bible what the treasure of heaven is like—gold or diamonds? However, considering the character of God who always rewards with good things, it must be much more valuable than the gems of the earth and more precious in eternal life.
The Bible often speaks about the blessings of life God gives to people during their lives and the eternal life gained through Jesus. Also, it clearly says how we can get those precious things.
Figure 12. Expansion of Resources and Future Value
|Faith, Obedience, Prayer, Love, Faithfulness, Perseverance, Life, Thanksgiving, Humility, Godliness, Justice, Help, Forgiveness, Honesty, Hospitality, the Bible, Diligence, Hope, Tongue, Honor, Tithe, and so on||Forgiveness, Salvation, Healing, Wisdom, Wealth, Prosperity, Victory, Peace, Longevity, Understanding, Recovery, Talent, and so on||
Man’s life and death, blessings and curses, all these come from God. First Samuel 2:6–7 is a verse in which Hannah, the mother of Samuel, praised God and confessed that all human life and death are in God. Like this verse, God brings life or death, and He gives also poverty or wealth. He also lowers the proud and raises the humble. The Lord, who has created all things, also administers all things of man. Therefore, the things we can expect are unlimited when we look up to God, who is the source of all things, by raising our eyes from out of the world.
Galatians 6:7 says, “A man reaps what he sows.” Jesus also said in Revelation 22:12 that He would reward according to what everyone has done when He comes again. If we plant good things in our Lord, we will be rewarded with good things. On the contrary, if we plant evil things, we will be repaid for what we have done.
As the Bible said, figure 12 shows a part of the things we can plant and a part of the things God gives us for free or rewards us with for what we have done. To compare with the capital market described earlier, the things we can plant are expressed as resources, and the things God gives us as future value in figure 12. Future value is divided into two aspects. One is the blessings from the Lord in our current life, and another is the eternal life that will be gained by faith in Jesus. What we need for investing in the capital market must be only capital. However, we have many things to plant to be rewarded much greater from God. Moreover, what God will reward us with is much more valuable. So, it is incomparable to the return on investment of capital and all essential to our lives.
Psalm 1 is a good example of explaining what the blessing in our life is. Verses 1–3 say that God blesses the godly. Godliness does not mean following what the wicked do in the world. Also, it means being separated from the sinners by not standing in the way of them. The godly always read the Bible and act as it says. It is not burdensome for them to live according to the Scripture, but rather they are pleased and proud. The Lord blesses such godly men, and they become like trees planted by streams. They yield their fruits in season because of water timely supplied by the Lord. The tree with few leaves, which has no fruit in season, will be only chopped down with an axe and thrown into the fire. However, those who bear fruits promptly will prosper in all they do. Prosperity means things are going well and always safe. It does not mean that there is no trouble. As a tree planted in a stream endures a cold winter for the next fruits, the Lord punishes His beloved children. However, their all ends are always good and safe. Troubles and suffering come down to both the ungodly and the godly, but it will be a disaster to the ungodly and a channel of blessing to the godly. Its end is different.
Psalm 112 also speaks of the blessing of the Lord. It says God blesses those who rejoice greatly in His Word. It means that they love God and like to listen to His Word and are willing to obey it. The Lord said that He would bless such people and make their descendants prosperous. He would also give wealth and riches and make them stand firm, said God. The blessings God gives us when we are godly and obedient to His Word are the precious things that the world cannot give and we can never buy with money.
The Bible says that God blesses people not only when they live in their flesh but also when they live eternally. In Luke 14:13–15, Jesus commanded us to do good to the poor, the disabled, the lame, the blind; in other words, everyone who needs our help. If so, it would be a better blessing to us because Jesus would repay us instead of them at the resurrection of the righteous, said Jesus. Namely, Jesus will reward for what we have done on earth during our eternal life. It is not recorded what Jesus will give, but it must be worthy beyond what the world gives. That is right because the reward we get here exists only during our lives, while Jesus’s rewards will be eternal. Taking a long-term view, if we seed good things in Jesus’s name, what we get in eternal life is significant.
James 1:12 also records that blessed is the man who perseveres under trial. There is no explanation what exactly the test is, but it will be a different kind of trial depending on the circumstances of each person, and its purpose is to train us and refine our faith. It is said that those who endure trials will receive “the crown of life.” Life means our eternal life, and crown is the glorious one that will be put on our heads. So, we will reign with Jesus in heaven when we have it. The Bible says that man’s life is like a falling flower before the rising sun and hot wind because it is too short before eternal life. All the glories and riches in the world might be beautiful just for a moment but fall on the ground soon like a flower, while the blessing of eternal life is forever. When we plant perseverance in Jesus’s name and endure our trials, He will surely pay the best ones with eternal glory.
As explained so far, God will make us prosperous and give glory in eternal life when we plant divine nature, obedience, and perseverance, which are all our resources. The Bible introduces many other things that we can use as our resources. They are faith, prayer, love, faithfulness, our lives, thanksgiving, humility, justice, help, forgiveness, honesty, hospitality, reading the Bible, diligence, hope, words from our mouths, honor, tithing, and so on. When we plant those resources, we can get eternal things that are worthy, valuable, and incomparable with what we gain in the world.
It requires, however, the most basic premise for planting and obtaining them. We must plant them in Jesus, and we can do it only in the Lord. John 15:5 recorded that Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. We must be in Jesus, and Jesus must be with us so that we can plant them and produce much fruit. Apart from Jesus, we cannot get the resources listed in figure 12. Also, we cannot bear fruits. Only in Jesus we are able to gain those precious resources, and Jesus blesses our lives and give eternal life when we plant them only in Jesus.