Traditional Western Christianity and in particular, evangelical churches have done a great job in teaching and preparing people to die. But not too long ago, I received a great revelation! There is one thing we all must do before we die: We must live! And that is where modern Christianity has, for the most part, failed in preparing people. We are good at helping people to make preparations to die, but we have been tragically amiss in preparing people to live!
But the faith that is found in the Bible is all about preparing and equipping people to live! If you listen to some preachers and teachers today, you would think that the main quest of the Christian life is Heaven and that we should just suffer whatever befalls us until we die! But is that what the Bible teaches? Sure, I agree, we should not be so in love with the world that we lose sight of Heaven, but neither should we be so in love with the thought of going to Heaven that we just allow the world around us to go to Hell!
I believe it is all about balance! In the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the lesson is about waiting and being prepared for His coming. But in the Parable of the Talents, the lesson is about faithfully working, transacting Kingdom business, and making Kingdom progress until He comes! We were not saved to be idle until we die! In the Parable of the Pounds, the nobleman said to his servants: “Occupy until I come!” In other words, be about the business of life; don’t just sit idly twiddling your thumbs waiting until I come back!
Yes! While we all should prepare for the day of our transition, we should also be as equally engaged in preparing ourselves to live a life that reflects God’s love for the world and His creation: That is what the Kingdom of God/Heaven that Jesus preached about was and is all about! It’s not so much about sweet-by-and-by-pie-in-the-sky-salvation; it was and is about living life before death! The message of the Kingdom is not that we will never lose; the message of the Kingdom is that even when we do lose, God is able to turn the lost into a victory! The message of the Kingdom is that no matter what and how we suffer in this world, it’s going to be alright because we are more than conqueror through the One who loves us and gave up His life for us! No! The message of the Kingdom is not that we will always win and be happy, but it is this: No matter what happens in life; the good, the bad, and the ugly, God is working it all out for the good! And what is the “good?” It’s not prosperity, riches, fame, or living on flowery beds of ease, but rather the good is that we be conformed to the image of His Son!
So, you can’t wait to get to Heaven? Well, as my daddy used to say: “Hold your horses buddy!” We were not saved just so we could go to Heaven when we die; we were also saved so that we might be ambassadors of the Kingdom and instruments of God’s righteousness upon the earth while we live! If we would just learn how to live the life that God has ordained for us to live upon the earth; dying and going to Heaven would take care of themselves! But remember! Before we die; we must live! And if we want to go to Heaven when we die, then we must allow His Kingdom to come into our lives, that is allow His sovereign rule and authority to be manifested in word, thought and action in our lives while we live!