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Eternity in the Heart

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD
The Truth Network Radio
June 15, 2021 8:00 am

Eternity in the Heart

The Urban Alternative / Tony Evans, PhD

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June 15, 2021 8:00 am

You’ve heard people say, life’s too short! Well, that’s especially true for people who go to their graves without ever discovering why they were here, to begin with. This Tuesday on The Alternative, Jonathan Evans will talk about why an eternal perspective will not only give you a sense of purpose but peace and pleasure as well.

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We live in a day where Christians are wallowing in a lack of experience while talking about how good God is and simultaneously complaining about what He's not doing. But Jonathan Evans says that may be the result of what we're not doing. God has given us a gift and it is to enjoy our labor.

But the gift has to be unwrapped. Celebrating 40 years of faithfulness, this is The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans, author, speaker, senior pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas, and president of the Urban Alternative. Have you ever heard the saying, life is too short? Well, that's true for people who go to their grave having never understood the point of why they're here to begin with. Today Jonathan Evans points out that we're not simply here for time, we were created for eternity.

Let's join him in Ecclesiastes 3.10 as he elaborates. I was reading this and just thinking to myself, man, it seems like Solomon is just rich and he has it all and there's kind of nothing else for him to aspire to. And so he has time to think about the fact that even though I have it all, I still feel like there's a void and there's a lack of fulfillment even with having everything that I have. I'm walking down hallways that are gold.

I've got a gold toilet, heated toilet. Well, it wasn't heated, but he's got all of these things that we aspire to, a palace, all of those different things. And still, as he's writing and thinking about it, he's looking over the ledge of his palace and looking at his flock and thinking, I'm just like y'all. We have the same end.

I'm not better than any of the things that I own. We breathe, we stop breathing. It's all just vanity. And to think that if someone reached that height, then what are we chasing for? What are we chasing after? It's almost as if we're in life chasing after things and ambitions and nothing's wrong with that, but it's really just grabbing after the wind.

It's something you can never really get a hold of because if Solomon has this problem, then no matter what you achieve, you will find that there is still something lacking. He starts out in verse 10 and he just says, I have seen the task which God has given the sons of men with which to occupy themselves. Seriously? I mean, you've given us these tasks for us to occupy ourselves? I kind of know what that means because I have kids.

Y'all go over there and play occupy yourselves. Because there's something that I'm trying to do, trying to accomplish or something that I'm withholding that you can't have, so you have to be content with where you are. My daughter, Kelsey, she's nine. She wants an iPhone. Boo, you ain't getting no iPhone.

You're nine. So you take this, Daddy, I want an iPhone. She's yearning for this iPhone.

No, you need to take this touch pad that has no cellular, barely works on Wi-Fi, and has parental controls all through it. You need to just be satisfied with that because I know your heart desires this phone, but you need to be satisfied right where you are with those limitations. And basically, God has set us in a position where we have limitations. We don't have the full experience of what he has in his hands. Yet, even though we don't have the full experience, he has set eternity in our hearts. He has set this thing in our hearts to grasp at something but never get the fulfillment of what we're grasping for. Eternity, happiness, joy, rest, peace, paradise, you know, the things that you can't buy.

And so we chase after those things. I go to the Bahamas or something like that. I need a beach. I need a good view.

I need something that reminds me of paradise, that I'm away from the work and the labor and the toil. I need that. But really, the reality is that all we're doing is really grabbing sand. You get it in your hand for a moment only to see it seep right through your fingers, to try to have to grasp again. That's why the chase for happiness gets us in trouble because we're chasing after something, and the reality is you're never going to get the full fulfillment of that. But the reason why we're chasing it is because God has set eternity in our hearts. Solomon is letting us know this thing just kind of goes around in circles.

He's starting to see. I'm just kind of occupying time. I'm not going anywhere. If you were to ask me what I'm doing with my life, I would say I'm doing ministry. I'm the chaplain of the Cowboys. I'm trying to be a good husband to my wife, and I want to be a good father. If you were to ask me a year from now, what am I doing, I'd say I'm doing ministry.

I'm the chaplain of the Dallas Cowboys. I'm trying to be a good husband to my wife. I'm trying to be a good father to my children. And many a times when you're answering that question that somebody's asking of you, you find yourself repeating yourself. And you're going in circles, it seems like, and sometimes you feel that lack of fulfillment, and Solomon is saying that's just what that is. The reason why you feel the lack of fulfillment is because God has set eternity in your heart, but you can't have that right now. But I know it exists.

You know why? Because every desire that I have, apart from sin, every desire that I have, it's available. I have a desire to eat.

There's food. I have a desire for relationship. There's relationship. I have a desire for the fulfillment of happiness and joy and peace and paradise and rest. But because I have that desire, I know it's available. It's just not available in this world.

I have to wait. And so when I was reading this, I was like, this is depressing, but it's kind of true. He set eternity in our hearts, but he's just given us time in which to occupy ourselves. And then here he says, in verse 12, he says, I know that there is nothing better than for them to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime. Moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor.

It is a gift of God. That even though Solomon is setting up this expectation, that that's just the way it is. There is no true 100% fulfillment. You're not going to be totally happy. Things are not always going to be all good. There's going to be this sense sometimes of purposelessness or merry-go-round.

I'm going around in circles. There's nothing new, nothing else to aspire to. I can't find the full peace that I'm looking for. He says, but there is a gift. That God has given us a gift and it is to enjoy our labor. Which means that even though you're going in circles and even though sometimes you feel like you're just occupying space, that you have to try to see it in a way that unwraps the gift so that you can experience it. God can give a gift, but the gift has to be unwrapped.

And many Christians are still miserable and they're going around in circles, miserable at their job, miserable in their marriage, miserable in what Solomon is saying is just the way it is. Because even though we have the gift, we refuse to see it as one. Because he says right here, moreover, that every man eats and drinks and sees good in all his labor.

In other words, you have to see it. You can pay your bills. You're able to take care of your family. There are things that are happening where God is using it to sustain you even though it's not exactly everything that you want it to be. God has given us the gift and he says the gift is I want you to enjoy your labor. It doesn't take away the fact that it's labor. It just means that there's a gift within it. But gifts are given, and if they stay under the tree or nobody tears off the gift wrapping, then there is no experience of it. And we live in a day where Christians are wallowing in a lack of experience while talking about how good God is and simultaneously complaining about what he's not doing. And Solomon is saying, I'm just setting an expectation. This is what it is. And he's setting the expectations, but he's saying, I want you to look at it a little bit differently.

Kelsey, I'm going to need you to enjoy that touch pad that barely has Wi-Fi, has no cellular, and shuts off on you from time to time. But there are things in there that you can enjoy if you can find contentment with what I've given you. He's talking about contentment here. I know that I've said eternity in your heart, but it's not time for that. I need you to learn to see what you already have and enjoy what you already have while you wait for me to fill you more in other places. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength, not those who don't. You've got to wait. And here he's saying, there is this gift.

Here is this gift, but you have to see it, enjoy it. I know that everything that, verse 14 says, I know that everything God does will remain forever. There is nothing to add to it and nothing to take from it.

It just is what it is. For God has so worked that men should fear him. He answers the question. Well, why in the world has he set it up like this so that you can fear him? It's as simple as that.

Where does fulfillment come from? God. He's the one who set eternity in your heart. And he's saying, I want you not to aspire to things because all you're going to do is climb the ladder of success and get to the top and realize the whole time it was leaning on the wrong wall. It's not about you just climbing the ladder of success. It's not about you chasing after what you will find out is simply the wind, or just sand that you're grasping in your hands, watching fall right through your fingers. It's about seeking me. It's about finding me. Because when you find me, you find purpose. When you find me, you find fulfillment. When you find me, you find calling. You can complain about what you have or you can just come find me. And when you find me, it's amazing how you see what you have differently. He's saying, I have set it up this way so that you will find me. Reason why is because I have outcomes for your life.

Deuteronomy 6 says this, if you listen to me and obey me and find me, submit your life to me. This is what it says. I like this. He says, your days will be prolonged. You'll get to live. It will go well with you. I'll take care of your future.

Don't worry about that. And you will multiply great in the land. If you submit yourself to me, if you obey me, if you find me, if you seek me, I'll give you some stuff that you can't buy. You'll get to live out all of your days. It will go well with you. I'll take care of where you haven't been yet. And you will multiply great in the land.

What does that mean? Be fruitful in the place where I'm calling you. If you submit to me. What you're looking for, I got it. Isn't this simple?

No. Because we just hear it and start right back chasing. And it's not that you're not supposed to be ambitious. It's not that you're not supposed to do and be. If you don't work, you shouldn't eat. But to do that apart from me means you'll find yourself rich and meaningless.

How are you going to have a lot and have nothing all at the same time? He says, I have set it up this way so that you would fear me, so that you would get to experience my outcomes that money can't buy. We'll be back to continue this message on the importance of eternity in just a moment. But first, as a part of our 40-year celebration of God's faithfulness, we're sharing a series of encouraging messages from Dr. Evans' son Jonathan Evans, author, speaker, and chaplain, who also serves with his father in the local church and national ministry.

Tony will be returning to the broadcast a week from today. You know, none of what we do here would be possible without the faithful contributions of people like you. And that's why we put together a special package as a way of saying thank you when you make a donation to keep this ministry going. It starts with our current nine-message audio collection, Forever Starts Now, and also includes a copy of Jonathan's brand-new life-changing book, Your Time Is Now, Get What God Has Given You. Together, this powerful package expands on what we've been learning about discovering and fulfilling our God-given purpose. God has something special He intends for you to do, and these resources will help you find what it is and take action toward doing it, and doing it now. We'd like you to have a copy of Forever Starts Now and Your Time Is Now as our gift when you make a donation to help support the work of the alternative.

But don't wait. This offer will only be around for a short while. Details are waiting for you at TonyEvans.org, where you can also sign up for Tony's free weekly e-mail devotional. Again, that's TonyEvans.org, or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our friendly team members help you.

That's 1-800-800-3222. We'll have more of today's message right after this. God has big plans for you, bigger than you've ever imagined. You're a man of influence, strength, and great purpose.

Are you ready to live up to your highest potential? Dr. Evans' brand new book, Kingdom Men Rising, a follow-up to his bestseller, Kingdom Man, which sold over 400,000 copies, challenges men to sharpen their spiritual and relational skills to intentionally live with an influencer mindset. Get Kingdom Men Rising today for yourself or for someone you love. Join the journey of men rising out to impact culture for Christ.

Visit TonyEvans.org or your nearest bookstore or online retailer, Kingdom Men Rising. He says in verse 16, Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. You know what's been hard for me as I've gotten older? Just finding good people. I don't know about you, but I'm like, you really think like that?

Your brain, who told you that? It's just been hard for me to find good people. And you think that it's righteous and it's okay, and then somehow it turns its back on you. You think that justice would just be a norm for people, but in the place of justice, that's where wickedness stands now. He's given you the reality that the unfairness that you're experiencing, God meant that to be justice. All you got to do is go back to Genesis 1 and 2. He meant that to be paradise, peace, rest, justice, righteousness, holiness.

He meant that, but once sin crept in the world, now we're experiencing the way it is. I can't find fairness with the people that love me. I can't find fairness with the people that are supposed to be pushing me to where God is calling me. I can't find fairness at the job. I can't find fairness with my husband or my wife.

I can't find, I mean, because its place has been taken. And guess what? That's the way it is.

And so you can see why after reading this, I was like, oh yeah, this is kind of, it's terrible. But he's setting this expectation to set you up. Christians are surprised a lot of times when life turns on them.

And Solomon is telling you, don't be surprised. This is the way it is. Well, God is good all the time and all the time God is good.

That's true. But all things are not good all the time. And He allows them to be bad.

Why? So that you would seek Him. Because it's in the badness that illuminates God's goodness. I've said it before, but if everything was good all the time, you wouldn't even know who to give the credit to.

It would just be good all the time. But when He allows things to go downhill and you two experience the way it is, then you get to the privilege of experiencing who He is. And He set it up this way so that you would fear Him.

And then it kind of gets worse. He says, for the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beast is the same. One dies, so dies the other. Indeed, verse 19, they all have the same breath and there is no advantage for man over beast. All is vanity.

Thanks. I'm just like my dog. Solomon's just letting you know there's justice is replaced by wickedness and righteousness is replaced by wickedness, and you ain't no better than your animal that you feed at the house. And he's just saying that's just the way it is.

All is vanity. He gets towards the end and he just kind of reminds us of what we all have in common. That our end is coming. There is no pause button. There is no rewind.

That's your DVR. That's not your life. And so he concludes with this, after letting you know that you're occupying space. That the world just turns on its axis. What was will be. And what you do now, next year when somebody asks you what you do, you'll probably say the same thing. That you will experience unfairness constantly.

That's the way it is. And then after that you're going to die. Thanks. And then I like this. He says, look at verse 22. So I conclude, after having said that, and fed you a pill of anxiety and depression. I have seen that nothing is better than that man should be happy in his activities. For that is his lot.

For who will bring him to see what will occur after him? You can see all the misery. He's setting up the expectation. This is the way it is. So I'm going to conclude by telling you this.

Enjoy your life. You know why? Because it's going to be unfair. You know why? Because you're going to die. You know why?

Because right now, yeah, it's just kind of occupying time and all. But God has given you a gift. And that is for you to see it, unwrap it, and enjoy it. Experiencing all the goodness held inside the gift Jonathan Evans just mentioned begins with a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Learn how you can live the life God has created for you. Visit tonyevans.org and click on the link that simply says Jesus. There, Dr. Evans will explain what it means to be a real Christian.

And he'll walk you through everything you need to know to start your brand new life. Well, as I mentioned earlier, Dr. Evans is taking time off from the broadcast this week so we can present this series of encouraging messages from his son and co-laborer in ministry, Jonathan Evans. Forever Starts Now is a nine-lesson collection that will help you find and fulfill God's unique plan for your life. We'll be happy to send you this complete audio series on CD and digital download, along with Jonathan's powerful new book that goes hand in hand with the material we've been hearing today.

The book is called Your Time is Now, Get What God Has Given You. We're offering both of these resources for a limited time as our thank you when you request them and make a contribution to help support the ministry of Dr. Evans and the alternative. So be sure to visit us at tonyevans.org right away. That's tonyevans.org. Or call our 24-hour resource request line at 1-800-800-3222 and let one of our team members help you with your request.

That's 1-800-800-3222. It's been said that two wrongs don't make a right, but payback is many times the first thought that goes through our minds when we've been wronged. Tomorrow Jonathan Evans will explain why we need to give God's wisdom a try if we truly want to make a change in our situation.

Right now, though, he's back to conclude today's message. My conclusion is simple. It's Solomon's conclusion. After setting the expectation of what you will experience in your life, find a way to enjoy it.

I'm finna enjoy my life. And we got so many Christians who are just miserable because they see what Solomon says is what it is. He's letting you know that this is the expectation. Justice is replaced. Righteousness is replaced.

An end is coming. So enjoy yourself. You know why? Because you're not gonna get to try this again. You're not gonna get this second chance here. My dad told me life is like a dollar bill. You get to have it and you get to spend it once, so spend it well. The Alternative with Dr. Tony Evans is brought to you by the Urban Alternative and is celebrating 40 years of faithfulness thanks to the generous contributions of listeners like you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-04 09:51:49 / 2023-11-04 10:00:50 / 9

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