6/2/17 David about 30
The Bible has much to say about how we are to live and treat one another. For example, it teaches us about racial reconciliation, care of the environment, care of the defenseless including the unborn, economic inequality and family values.
So why do I focus on eternity in my outreach conversations? Isn't the here and now more important than pie in the sky and by and by?
It is, if our eternal relationship with God and our home in heaven is secured. Many people, like a man named David I spoke with yesterday, feel secure in their assumption that "God knows I'm not perfect, but He knows my heart and I'm pretty sure He would say I'm a pretty good guy."
So I don't blame people for ignoring eternity and focusing on the present, though I think it unwise. As they say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!" But the Bible teaches that it - our relationship with God - is indeed broken, and it does need to be fixed.
However, the assumption that "all is well" with God also means that all the biblical direction for our earthly relationships and behavior is pretty much optional, that it is simply there for our comfort and ignored at our convenience. Although David, and many like him, told me he believes in God and heaven and hell, he has never seriously read the Bible and no longer bothers with church. He does enough good to ease his conscience, and feels "good to go" with eternity. So in addition to issues of salvation, I have another reason for focusing on the eternal in my outreach conversations.
As I see it, our treatment of our fellow human beings and our short life here on this earth comes down to two options: 1.) What is the least amount of good I have to do to make up for the bad I've done?; or 2.) What is the greatest amount of good I could have the privilege of doing? Works based religion is stuck in the first option, often like a heavy, guilt-ridden weight one must bear as they never know if they have done enough. But the second option - the greatest good we get to do - leads to a life of adventurous living and generous giving based on the sheer wonder of God's grace and our salvation.
Does my concern with eternity mean I don't care about the here and now? No, a thousand times no! The Gospel is the one true hope for eternity, but it is also the one true hope for beginning to make the world more like the paradise God created it to be.