It is extraordinary to see how varied are the things that men desire, and yet there is one point of general agreement on which all are determined: to waste their time on the things of this world. Each individual has his own particular goal and method, but in their vanity all men everywhere look only to this perishable life for blessing and happiness. No better evidence exists of man’s thoroughly brutish nature. For we are created for a contrary purpose–to aspire to God’s heavenly kingdom even while we live in this world.
This is why the present life is called a journey or a pathway. so unless we deliberately chose to forfeit God’s eternal inheritance, we must, as a first step, give up those silly fancies which so absorb us and keep us captive to this world. Our chief desire instead should be to seek out God, and nothing should stop us from at least making that our aim. I say ‘at least,’ because all earthly affections which can only separate us from God must, of necessity, be torn from our hearts, so that we may move swiftly forward in the journey we must make. But because we are far from possessing this kind of purity, we must, in the second place, overcome all the obstacles which hold us back, and must pursue our course regardless. Despite our infirmites we should prefer the life of heave to whatever is of this world.
– John Calvin, from, On Valuing Membership in God’s Church and the Freedom to Worship Him: a sermon based on Psalm 27:4