At some point in each of our lives, we have wondered what our purpose is for this place and time, in this context of flesh and bone. Were we thoughtfully created in a virtuous design by the imagination of a loving Creator? Or is our existence more random, particles of science left to chance, deriving whatever pleasure we can muster for the moment and leaving the rest to fickle fate?

If we subscribe to the latter belief that our lives are merely happenstance, our perspectives are informed only by the here-and-now. This limited worldview asks fewer questions, and perhaps on the surface produces less confusion. But it also begs less of us in general and produces a narrow perspective with which to view our lives and the lives of those around us.

If we enlist a little faith in the belief that we are created on purpose, by design, our hearts begin to beat with the chorus of eternity pulsing throughout our every day existence. And this eternal refrain tunes our hearts and opens our eyes to the eternal value of every single person, ever.

It was within the context of a rural Southern Baptist congregation, growing up just along the fringes of West Texas, where my conversations with God began. Inside those hardback pews, alongside that community of faith-filled people, I learned spiritual songs. I memorized scripture. I was taught how to love, take care of and be responsible for myself so that I could better love and meet the needs of my neighbors. Though I didn’t fully realize it then, even as a grade-schooler I was being encouraged to partner with the wide perspectives of eternity, to see the bigger picture … to truly embody the words of Jesus when He prayed, “On earth as it is in Heaven.”

Physical poverty exists across the world. Spiritual poverty exists throughout our hearts. One is connected to the other. Paying close attention to the practical needs of people here on earth is the open door to surrendering the need of our souls to God in heaven. So how we love each other, exhibited in how we treat each other, in the here and now will impact us for eternity.

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