Is that it?
Is this the message?
Is this what Jesus and the apostles announced?
Are we in rehearsals? Is this prep time for the final exam? Are we taking batting practice? Is this pre-season and we’re sorting out the team, making the cuts, setting the roster?
Are we humans given sixty, seventy, eighty or more years that have no value in and of themselves? Is it all merely preparation for the real deal?
The more I read the Bible and the longer I follow Jesus, the less I think this whole thing is about “eternity” or “heaven.”
Of course I hold to an age to come — “I believe…he will come again to judge the living and the dead;” ”I believe in…the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.”
God will make a new heavens and a new earth. However, it is not we who will go to heaven, it is heaven that will come to earth, to us:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
“See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them…”
- Revelation 21:1-3
Whatever this “Christian” thing is about, it is about earth. It is about life on earth. It is about life with God on earth. It is about life that begins now here on this earth and extends to the age to come on a renewed earth.
And it is about you and I starting to live that life now.
It is not about spending my years getting ready for the life to come.
When Jesus gave his apostolic commission, he said we should make disciples — lifelong learners and apprentices. Now.
He said we should baptize — bring people into the life and nurture of his family. Now.
He said we should teach one another to obey everything he commanded us. Now.
He ascended and sits enthroned as King. Now.
He sent the Spirit, who indwells and empowers his people. Now.
The promises Jesus gave regarding the future make now more meaningful, not less. The seeds we plant now will yield a harvest both now and then beyond anything we can imagine.
“Now” is not just time God gave us to determine where we will spend “then.”
“Now” is the time when “then” begins.