Sunday, October 10, 2010


Eternity lurks in the shadows and is hidden by the now. It is ignored by the present and finds only a passing doctrinal nod in creeds and theology. Eternity is a concept, a fanciful thought which has been molded to fit altogether in the future and with little, if any, role to play in the present. There are church classes that deal with finances, marriage, relationships, and every imaginable subject that could possibly have some stretched thin line to Christianity. But where is the class entitled, “Preparing for Eternity”? No, why waste today on the uncertainty of eternity? Why meditate on eternity when we can vent our energy, worry, and thoughts on the things of today?
Clothes, food, vacations, sports, politics, money, careers, appearance, and a thousand other concerns that flesh is heir to consume our very lives while eternity waits, ignored and abandoned like a senior girl who remains unasked to her prom. How many believers have actually taken one entire hour and dwelt upon the reality and implications of eternity? So many metaphors have been offered that tickle the cerebellum and then are catalogued as resource material. It does not affect anything in our lives. What can we honestly claim that our professed belief in eternity affects, especially in light of the magnitude of such a claim?
Does it affect what car we drive? What television we buy? What home we live in? What food we eat? Many unbelievers go to a religious meeting place every week, and most religions do the same. Many practitioners of every religion give money to the organized symbol of their particular faith. Many unbelievers do not smoke or drink or curse, and many unbelievers and members of other religions are faithful to their families. We not only claim to believe in eternity, but have already inherited eternal life, including the deposit of the Living Creator within us. And when challenged with a living reflection of such a profound and astonishing claim, to what can we point? Of course we can accurately claim to be imperfect mirrors, but when we are seen as just another unremarkable flavor in a culture of many flavors does that not present a serious indictment?
If our beliefs are so staggering why are not our lifestyles so congruent with our beliefs? Why can the unbelieving neighbor live a life that is so like our own? Could it mean that our profession of faith in eternal life has become a faith tenant and not a living reality? They martyred early believers while today they welcome them. And the early believers were not killed because they had become caustic moral police. They were martyred because they lived outside the dictates of Roman tyranny and exhibited a love and compassion that drew the attention of idol worshipers and led them to Christ. And that was a threat to Caesar.
And so the western church trudges forward, counting noses and money, paying mortgages and salaries, planning events and conferences, and holding on for dear life to what we have already. We take no real chances and we avoid anything remotely dangerous to our well oiled machine. We are willing to speak out for moral issues and political causes, and even give some perfunctory lip service to Jesus. But what have we really sacrificed that means something to us? When have we rejected the things of here and now and embraced fully the things of eternity?
We say we believe that every soul lives forever in eternity, either with Christ or separated forever from Christ. And yet we spend well over 90% of everything we make on ourselves, and a large portion of that is entertainment, recreation, and other accoutrements. And yet we castigate those liberals and infidels for their unbelief while we ignore the Scriptural truth that to whom much is given much is required. It is all so much vanity and religious chatter that is full of sound and fury but signifying nothing. Talk is very cheap, and the discourse market in this age has plummeted to an all time low.
In all of it I count myself a full participant but in the embryonic stage of evaluation. When a man screams out, “This house is on fire!!”, but he continues to sit in his lounge chair and watch television, how much weight can we assign to his words? In fact, the more the hourglass transfers sand the less the church even warns of anything because the tension between what we say and what we do becomes unbearable. Eternity pulls up a doctrinal chair and is allowed to speak in theological terms. But eternity’s bid for authority is denied, and it remains an ecclesiastical curiosity. If we actually allowed eternity to impact every single aspect of our lives, perhaps the unbelievers still would not believe in Jesus, but they could not deny that we do.

What does surrender to Jesus actually mean and how is it lived out dramatically?
What is moderation?
What is sacrifice?
What is a living sacrifice?
What does it mean to forsake all?
How can a living person manifest eternity in his lifestyle?
What does it mean to follow Jesus?

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