Today as I was driving along, I was thinking about some things that I would like to have happen before I die. For example, I’m really looking forward to a new record that’s coming out this month, and I was thinking I would be a little bummed out if I would die before I would hear it. I mean obviously, the music of Heaven is going to be indescribably beautiful . . . Then I started thinking this like, That’s dumb. You have the prospect of eternal life and you are worried about some record?
There are, of course, other things I would like to do before I die. I would like to travel to a lot of places before I die as well: Europe, Asia, Australia, and take a road trip around the United States that would allow me experience subcultures within the US. I also think it would be neat to write a book, or own a coffee shop, or be a part or full time touring musician.
I kept thinking, You must have some messed up priorities if you are thinking about all these temporal things and you’ve got a relationship that will allow you to spend eternity with Jesus. He is the true reality after all.
But the more I mused on it, I thought, But don’t all these things mean that God has imparted at least a measure of his goodness to us in this life? Of course it does.
What does all of this mean? I think the idea of God’s gift of life is important for us to remember. I think He’s given us all this stuff, so that we want to live life. What would be the point of God even giving us the chance to live on the earth at all if all we wanted to do was go on to the next life?
I think if we actually knew how absolutely incredible Heaven was, it would be really tough not to be depressed about how lame this life is compared to eternal life. If we even had a tiny taste of the “joys substantial and sincere” on the other side of the temporary, it would be difficult to live contentedly in the now.
If there was nothing good in earthly life, nothing temporal to look forward to, we would always be grouchy. We would always be complaining about how awful this life is and how we just can’t wait to go to Heaven. Granted, there are plenty of things God allows into our lives to remind us that we were created for so much more than this life, but it’s not wrong to enjoy the good and simple things that make up life.
The physical is what is most apparent to us, so really, it’s what we have to work with. That doesn’t diminish the importance of the spiritual. Not at all. But embracing the spiritual doesn’t mean denying the physical. I think Christians should be known for their zest for life–not sitting around waiting for Heaven.
We have a lot to love about life. We don’t have to wait for Heaven to have a relationship with Jesus. We have that right now. That fact should not cause us to sit around in our living rooms sighing about wishing we could die so we can go to Heaven. It should cause us to live life with an otherworldly zeal, making people around us wonder what is wrong (or right) with us. What is this that allows us to live life with such passion and purpose.
That said, we have more than enough people on the planet that are living only for what they can take in with their five senses. I’m not talking about such an existence. Our lives should influence people like that to think deeply about the fact that we were made as eternal souls that were “meant to live for so much more.”
The lyrics from the chorus “Afterlife,” a song on Switchfoot’s up and coming record spoke to this idea wonderfully. I like the idea that, though we live in a fallen world that’s going to end, it is not a good reason to feel apathetic about the current existence or dislike it.
The world is made
A chance to change
But I feel the same
And I wonder why
Would I wait till I die
To come alive?
I’m ready now
I’m not waiting for the afterlife”