Carrie Berrian of Louisville, Georgia died just short of her 120th birthday. We’ll remember her longevity, energy and persistence. But her greatest achievement was her faith in God and she’ll receive her eternal home in heaven, as a result (Revelation 21:1-8).
It doesn’t matter what we have accomplished early in our lives, because in the end our eternal home will be determined by where we wind up spiritually (Matthew 25:31-46).
To illustrate this point we look to Scripture and the story of two kings whose lives traveled in opposite directions.
Hezekiah, son of the evil King Ahaz, was devoted to God (2 Kings 18:1-16; 2 Chronicles 30:6-9) and was one of the greatest kings of Judah.
Yet, when Hezekiah’s health failed, God granted him fifteen extra years of life (Isaiah 38:1-5). However, Hezekiah used that blessing to turn against God (Isaiah 39:3-8).
During Hezekiah’s extra fifteen years of life, Manasseh was born and he became one of the most evil kings in Judah’s history (2 Kings 21:1-9). He established idolatry throughout the land and led the people of God into apostasy (2 Chronicles 33:1-6).
During that captivity, the Lord spoke and Manasseh listened (2 Chronicles 33:10-13). Manasseh subsequently repented and restored the Lord to the people.
Hezekiah began with honor and ended with shame whereas Manasseh’s evil beginning ended with righteousness. To many, Hezekiah’s reign was more impressive. But in terms of eternity, Manasseh stands alone.
Paul called himself the chief of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15). Yet, he remained faithful the remainder of his life. Paul said that we must let the past go and charge forward into the future for God (Philippians 3:12-16).
Will we finish strong for the Lord? It doesn’t matter how many people we have led to the Lord or our length of service if we abandon God in the end (Hebrews 10:26-31).
“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10, NKJV).