| The "Good News" (Gospel) > Sporadic Log > Left Behind?|
Left Behind?April 25, 2007
(Posted at HisCalledOutAssembly)
You mentioned three examples of phrases you hear:
"...when we enter the Kingdom..."
"...during the millennium..."
"...when Messiah returns..."
These are good examples of the focus so often placed on what will happen
at some future date. The context is often an awareness of how bad
things are, how much worse they will probably get, and the relief in
knowing that we will not experience the worst, because we will be
removed before then. Sometime one even senses a delight that there is
so much evidence of deterioration, because it is further evidence that
the time is short before the deliverance appears.
It is comparable to
living in a foreign city knowing that my homeland is about to drop a
super bomb where I am living, but not worrying because of a confidence
that a fleet of airplanes will be sent the night before to take all
homeland citizens back to safe territory.
To me it seems inevitable that such a perspective would prevent one from
expending any significant energy in long-range planning and construction
in the foreign city. Why build something which is about to be bombed
Assuming that living a life of blessing includes some measure of clean
water, nourishing food, warm and appealing housing, durable and
attractive clothing, and a harmonious arrangement for finding or
producing them, and that pursuing living the Kingdom includes the
bringing of blessings to others, it seems to me that living within a
mentality of imminent doom not only "sometimes restrict(s) us from
pursuing living the Kingdom now", but will always lead to such
implications. Again, why pursue long-term goals when the whole
arrangement is about to blow up?
Put simply, we must realize that our eschatology has a profound effect
on our present practice.
My writing over the years has made it clear that I expect, if I live to
the age my father now is, to see more profound changes in the remainder
of my life than I have seen until now. I expect those changes to be
unprecedented, more dramatic and far-reaching than anything until now in
recorded history. So I am not in the "Don't worry; Be happy." crowd.
But I expect that I and those I know will remain on the scene until our
bodies are ready for the grave. What I and they do now will affect the
way we handle the challenge.
When the storm comes, the challenge will
be coping and reconstructing. Life on earth will go on. Not as usual,
but it will go on.
Not expecting a supernatural airlift does not diminish my confidence in
the care of our Lord or the joys of life in His Kingdom.
The testimony of the saints has always been that His presence brings the
peace which passes understanding. The coming of the storm brings
opportunities for ministry and blessing to those who have reason for
confidence in the future.
Whatever our views of eschatology, the challenge for all followers of
Jesus is to embrace as brothers all who seek to be faithful to His
calling as they in their best wisdom understand it.
If we so choose, we can discuss the evidence for our views of the
future. That was not my purpose here. It was simply to observe and
confirm what you implied, that our views of the future profoundly affect
our experience of the present.