That’s the question an aged saint asked of a small group she had joined when a twenty-something Bible student told her he could care less about heaven because, “He was into being the hands and feet of Jesus to a hurting world.” He was about living for others, not about what He would get someday through some, in his words, “pie-in-the-sky” promises that, again in his words, “medicate the poor and hurting” so that they’ll accept social injustices.
As a Jesus Movement convert of the 60’s, I’d have to own some of this young man’s charge. We were so focused on “getting people to heaven,” we convinced ourselves we could ignore the social insensitivities, the prejudices, and injustices of our day. Wouldn’t want anyone to accuse us of preaching a “social gospel” like the liberals.
However, if I’m reading my Bible correctly, there’s no good hell and no bad heaven. Seems to me this isn’t an either-or but a both-and deal. Believers who ignore the hurting aren’t living out Christ’s love in this world; believers who ignore eternity aren’t living out what He says about the world to come.
One common thread I’ve observed in sincere and Godly people so uncomfortable with my passion for the gospel: They often come from upscale neighborhoods, attended schools filled with other affluent students, and have little personal experience with life at the bottom.
It’s not their fault; they just did.
Could it be that at least some of the reason we don’t long for heaven is because we have it so good here?
Phil Yancey says it best, “To believe in future rewards is to believe that the long arm of the Lord bends toward justice, to believe that one day the proud will be overthrown and the humble raised up and the hungry filled with good things. Like a bell tolling from another world, Jesus’ promise of rewards proclaims that no matter how things appear, there is no foundation in evil, only in good.”
What do you think? I sure would love to hear from someone who’s dealing with the meanness of this world as a participant rather than an observer. Does affluence diminish our longing for heaven?
“For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits for the revealing of the Sons of God”(Romans 8:20).