by Gordon Robertson, Chief Executive Officer, The Christian Broadcasting Network and host of The 700 Club Asia
“Life is an extraordinary journey towards eternity”
Life is a journey, not a destination. Slogans like this masquerade as wisdom. But as Christians, we know that our eternal destination matters more than the journey. Awareness of our destination should determine how we travel. Like Moses, we should ask God to teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12). If our days are numbered and heaven is our destination, then how should we live on earth?
Several years ago, I was in China looking for a Christian pagoda built more than 1,000 years ago. In the Tang dynasty, Christianity had thrived for 300 years and then died out when a Buddhist empress ordered the destruction of all churches and Christian writings.
The discovery of this Christian pagoda just outside the Tang capital of Xian sent shock waves through the Chinese archeological community. I wanted to spread those shock waves to the general population by producing a video about Christianity in ancient China. The Chinese need to know that Christianity is not a foreign religion and that it existed in China centuries before Columbus discovered America. This story needed to be told, and CBN was uniquely qualified to tell it.
I knew my destination, but getting there proved to be difficult.
First I flew twenty hours to Beijing, then another few hours to Xian, and then rode by car with the production crew to the pagoda site. The car trip was supposed to take an hour but we got lost. We stopped, asked for directions, and became even more lost. As I sat in the backseat of a hot car that wandered the Chinese countryside, I didn’t want any more of the journey—I wanted the destination.
After stopping for directions again, we finally arrived at the pagoda to find a wonderful monument to Christianity. We learned the remarkable story of a monk from Damascus named Alopen who traveled all the way along the Silk Road to bring the Gospel to China in A.D. 635. He also brought books of the Bible, which the Tang emperor translated into Chinese. Alopen so effectively trained local clergy that within 150 years a church or monastery existed in nearly every city in China. The historical record of his success is chiseled in marble on a monument near Xian that was erected by a Tang emperor in A.D. 781.
My destination was worth the brief hardship of the journey. On a hillside in China, I found the story of a man who left everything to take the Gospel to people who had not yet heard, and through hearing would find faith to believe. Alopen knew his ultimate destination was heaven, and he lived his life in the firm expectation of spending eternity there.
What will you carry to heaven? You won’t take riches, fame, or even your spiritual gifts, for 1 Corinthians 13:8 says that tongues will cease and prophecies will fail. So what will really last?
Daniel 12:3 tells us about the coming kingdom: Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever.
Proverbs 11:30 echoes this, saying, He who wins souls is wise. It does not say that the wise man wins souls, but that he who wins souls is wise. The act of winning souls makes you wise. Why?
Imagine being in heaven and not having anyone there who had come to believe through your efforts on earth. How does that make you feel? Would you say, “There wasn’t enough time” or “I was too busy”?
Imagine having thirty or sixty or a hundred people say that you are the reason they got to heaven. Now how do you feel? Imagine feeling this way for all eternity. The proverb is true: he who wins souls is wise.
Regardless of problems along the way, those who keep their destination in mind remember how to conduct themselves during the journey. May we all pray for a heart of wisdom that overflows with compassion for the lost. God bless you.
Scripture is quoted from the NKJV.