Thursday, February 7, 2013

Future and Faith

Have you ever wondered how faith relates to your future?

Now the quick and immediate answer for a Child of the King would be absolutely! We cannot enter into eternal life, except by faith in Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished on the cross...and we would be right. So then, the real question in view here comes to the surface...with that foundation, how does our understanding of our future relate to our faith. If we believe that God is Sovereign (which He is) and that He has His eye on us (which He does) and that He has a plan, a purpose and a future for us (again, affirmative), how does that translate into daily life?
Here is where it gets a bit sticky, or stickery (painfully poking) my daily decisions reflect what my profession of faith holds?

Let's start with the simple issues; Life. I'll either wake up today by God's grace or be in His presence. As Paul says, "for me to live is Christ and to die, more of the same (Christ)". Our faith requires no real action here, its not tested because we are not in the place to choose whether we wake up here or in heaven. We go to sleep, and we either wake up here or there. 

Let's make it a bit more complicated...Work. Seems real simple; God helps them who helps themselves or so we've been told. Well, here things are a bit out of sorts. First, that phrase is NOT a biblical concept, rather man's invention. Secondly, when Jesus called out the first disciples they LEFT daily work to follow Him, to BE disciples, to MAKE disciples....of course, it took them 3 1/2 years before they were successful and then only by the power of the Holy Spirit; not only reminding them what Jesus said, but also empowering the frail humans to do miraculous things by the power of God. So every morning, 5 or so days a week, we walk out the door and pledge our loyalty, by choice, to an earthly master. We justify this as being necessary, doing it as unto Jesus after all; we all have bills to pay, homes to provide and all those other seemingly important tasks that require a weekly or monthly paycheck. (to say nothing about the monthly expenses we have chosen, that are "essential" for life....cable, cell phones, entertainment, new clothes, car payments, etc). Our faith comes to a screeching, "please wait here while I help God help me" place. It's not in view, it has nothing to do with what we can do or how we view God until we either don't have a job, don't want the one we have or figure its time to retire and then our faith is hoisted up the pole to demonstrate to God that we need Him to provide what we (again) want. If our Father maintains a sparrow's existence and takes even more concern with us, doesn't there remain a real possibility that all the pursuit of life as it relates to a job, income, security, etc has been undertaken by us alone, setting our faith aside as WE provide for our future. Is not our faith then really in ourselves? 

Now let's really make it uncomfortable...our earthly future. It sort of ties into the above ideas, but don't most of us have an idea of what we want to do in life when we retire? Of how we'll travel, or plant a garden, or read a book a day or whatever else we want to do. I keep looking for the earthly retirement system of the New Testament church and I haven't found it yet. The Old Covenant had a retirement system for priests; 50 and out. The nomadic lifestyle of most of the Old Testament folks, meant that the older generation just transitioned to a place of being cared for, as opposed to providing for the others in the family group with the patriarchal life style. But in the Church Jesus bought and paid for with His blood, retirement is much more likely to be death in the process of serving God, while teaching, preaching, making disciples and continuing daily in the Word of God. The church's retirement community seems to be centered around the throne of God where those martyred for the faith seeks God's final solution for the earth.

Okay, enough for making a point. Time fails to allow me to speak of many other areas of life that this question comes to light in, such as insurance, property ownership, comforts of life, bank accounts, "investments", etc. These also would undoubtedly cause too much ire for the average believer in Jesus Christ and really there is no time in our schedule for such considerations....In fact, I am sure that it must be time to head to Starbucks, then shopping for more sundry items at Walmart, Target, etc.  Or maybe it's time to run to work and put in our 8 hours, so we can accrue enough vacation time for that planned holiday this summer. Or maybe its time to eat one of our 3-5 square meals that we'll consume today. Either way, I'm pretty sure that spending the time to consider our faith and the future is not going to fit into our schedule today, anymore that spending time with Jesus will....that's scheduled for Sunday anyway, right? 

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