Perspectives (2 Cor 4:17-18)

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18, KJV)

Often you see things at the shopping center that are quite humorous. At least it is for you but not for the one who is trying to stuff a large item into the trunk or back seat of the car. This has happened to us on occasion. I remember going out to get a Christmas tree with our two children one year. We went to the lot with the van and got out to look at the trees. I spied a nice sized one, probably about six foot tall, but the kids and I thought it was too small. Thus, we continued to look around for a larger one. Finally, we got to one that seemed about the right size. We took it to the van, opened the back doors, and pulled it inside. It took some effort, but we secured the rear doors and crammed the kids in with the tree. Frankly, I do not remember how we got everyone in and headed home.

When we got home I realized that we could not pull the tree back out of the van because the branches pressed out against its inside walls. So, I opened the sliding side door, bent the tree, and forced it out by the pulling it by the lower branches. Then I had to get it through the front door, which was only 36 inches wide. When I got it into the house, I then realized that it was over eight feet tall. Fortunately, we had a cathedral ceiling and put the tree up. The problem we encountered in selecting the tree was one of perspectives. In the outdoor setting where we purchased the tree, the trees looked much smaller than they were. It was not until we got to the van that I began to realize what we had done.

Perspectives make a huge difference, not just in shopping for a tree, but also in negotiating the Christian life. Paul, experienced much affliction in preaching the gospel, so much so that most would have given up and sought a different vocation. Yet, he did not. The reason is that he had a different perspective than the natural person. Paul had a supernatural perspective. He saw eternal glory where the natural person sees only the temporal pleasures of this life.

Because he had this eternal perspective, he stated that the affliction that his team and he endured was considered light and momentary, infinitesimal in compared to eternity. Moreover, he saw that the trials and tribulations accomplished something far greater than anything he could gain in this earthly life. He wrote that they “worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” The phrase, “a far more exceeding” is an interesting one in the Greek text, kath huperbolen eis huperbolen. The word translated “more exceeding,” huperbolen, literally means a throwing beyond and refers to something beyond measure (Strong G5236). This word is used twice in the phrase as a sort of play on words to emphasize a point. The phrase could be translated as “to beyond measure into beyond measure,” or in my terms, “to infinity and beyond.” In the perspective of infinite eternal glory, Paul saw that any hardship was infinitesimal.

If we who believe would have such a perspective as Paul did, we would rise to new heights in our zeal for the Lord. We would be driven to serve the Lord with a new passion. Let us spend some time in contemplating the glory of heaven and what is instore for all who believe. Yes, it is impossible to wrap our minds around infinite and eternal glory but the closer we get, the more we will be moved to seek and serve the Lord.

Published by Steve Hankins, Th.D.

Steve has had extensive military, business and ministry experience. He has served for over 16 years in full time vocational ministry and many years of part time ministry in churches. He has led churches through start-up and recasting of vision. Now He resides on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where he is working to help smaller churches and believers to renew their hearts and regain the joy of the Lord.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: