1/13/17 Daniel aabout 30
It's cold in Chicago, and I had worked late so it was dark out on my way home. I usually stop somewhere on my way to reach out with the Gospel, and the cold weather forces me to get creative and find people to talk with indoors. I had stopped at a laundromat near my church, but its lone customer hadn't wanted to talk much. But back out on the sidewalk I bumped into Daniel, here from Brazil to learn English. I couldn't speak Portugese and his English needs a lot of work, so we settled on Spanish. Daniel is a Seventh-Day Adventist, and though we had many beliefs in common we had an interesting discussion about our differences toward the doctrine of hell. Later he commented about the importance of loving acts of kindness over theology. Really, why were out there on the cold, dark sidewalk talking theology when we could be at, say, a soup kitchen helping the poor? Aren't people's immediate needs more important than the hereafter?
The problem, I told him, is that the hereafter is just as real but infinitely longer in comparison to our relatively short existence in this life. Where we spend eternity is important, and when people become believers with a godly perspective on eternity and a right relationship with God, it provides a genuine and heartfelt motivation to love others and do good works of service here on earth. It is meant to be the result of good theology. James 1 says " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." "Talking theology" then, doesn't just affect where we spend eternity, it should affect our actions here and now. It can inspire people to good works, even when it happens on a cold, dark sidewalk.