Rick Warren Urges Christians to Remember: 'Earth Is Just a Temporary Assignment'

Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren participates in a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 26, 2008.
Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren participates in a panel discussion during the Clinton Global Initiative in New York September 26, 2008. | (Photo: Reuters/Chip East)

Saddleback Church pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren urges Christians to always keep in mind that their life on "Earth is just a temporary assignment," and to focus on the things that really matter.

Warren published a devotional Monday that focused on the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 4:18, as rendered by the Today's English Version.

"For we fix our attention, not on things that are seen, but on things that are unseen. What can be seen lasts only for a time, but what cannot be seen lasts forever," reads the verse.

The author of The Purpose Driven Life explained that "it's important to remember that life on Earth is just a temporary assignment."

"Knowing this truth should radically alter your values and fix your attention on the things that are eternally important," wrote Warren.

"When life gets tough, when you're overwhelmed with doubt, or when you wonder if living for Christ is worth the effort, remember that you are not home yet. At death you won't leave home — you'll go home."

Critiquing the prosperity gospel, Warren also noted that "a fatal mistake to assume is that God's goal for your life is material prosperity or popular success as the world defines it."

"Paul was faithful, yet he ended up in prison. John the Baptist was faithful, but he was beheaded. Millions of faithful people have been martyred, have lost everything, or have come to the end of life with nothing to show for it," continued Warren.

"The abundant life has nothing to do with material abundance. Faithfulness to God does not guarantee success in a career or even in ministry. Never focus on temporary crowns."

Warren's statements on the temporary nature of life on Earth bear resemblance to comments he made earlier this year about the enduring nature of God's family.

In July, Warren explained a devotional that the "family of God" will outlast everything of the modern day, from the United States to Microsoft.

"A thousand years from today, if there's still Earth here, there won't be a Microsoft. There won't be a Hollywood a thousand years from today. There won't be a United States of America, because no earthly kingdom lasts forever. There won't be all of the things we think are so great," Warren said.

"But there will still be the family of God. God's people last. It's the only thing that's going to last. … I make no apology in saying to you that maybe joining a spiritual family will be the most significant thing you do with your life."

Warren made this point when putting forth the argument that Christians "need to join a local church" for "it's going to outlast everything else you do."

"Because what the Church is doing in making a difference in the world is going to outlast your career. It's going to outlast your hobbies," Warren continued.

"It's going to outlast every other thing you do. It's the only thing that's going to last forever because it's about changed lives. There are only two things that are going to last forever: God's Word and God's people."

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