1/31/13 Max about 25
“Imagine there's no heaven…It's easy if you try…No hell below us…Above us only sky…Imagine all the people living for today…” No heaven or hell? John Lennon might have been able to imagine it, but I sure can’t, and it is always interesting to ask people who don’t believe in an afterlife just what it is they live for. A young man named Max, whom I found drawing in his sketch book at a Caribou Coffee, had an interesting answer to this question. “I have a deathclock on my computer’s wallpaper, which is counting down to the time I am most likely to die according to my personal profile. It constantly reminds me that life is short, and inspires me to make the most of the time I have left” I asked how he was “making the most of it” – what was his purpose in life? He had no idea, but said he was searching. He was raised Lutheran, but now criticizes religion, viewing it as nothing more than a “carrot on a stick” designed to control the masses with promises of heavenly rewards. He sees himself as being beyond such base motivations and, like many who call themselves atheists, takes pride in his perceived ability to be good without God. So after hearing his perspective I was able to focus on some of his misconceptions about Christianity as I shared the Gospel. First, it was helpful for him to understand that the reward of heaven is not material or self-centered, but rather the reward is God Himself –the joy of being in His presence and being in a right relationship with Him. Second, it was important for Max to understand that the motivation for right behavior is not the compulsion of reward or punishment, but the joy of expressing one’s gratitude for the cross and the salvation we don’t deserve. These and some other points I made in response to his statements gave him pause as I could tell he was reflecting deeply on what I had said. He shook my hand vigorously as I got ready to go “This has definitely been the most interesting conversation I’ve ever had at a Caribou Coffee!” he said thankfully. I pray it will be much, much more than that.