John Steward of Jesus
  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 into oblivion?

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.