October 19, 2009

If Only For This Life We Have Hope In Christ...

"If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men."-- St. Paul, I Corinthians 15:19

Earlier this year, Rev. Ike died. If you are not familiar with him, here is his obituary from the New York Times. The key to Rev. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II's public theology might be summed up this way: "I want all my blessings now: I don't want pie in the sky by and by."

Who wants pie in the sky? Who doesn't want blessings now?

What Rev. Ike failed to say was: it's not an either/or proposition.

Perhaps this is why so much of what is Christian doesn't make sense to someone viewing the journey from the outside.

Looking at it from the outside:
"Forgive your enemies". Objection: why would I do that and let someone get away with harming me?

"Support your church and worthy causes." Objection: why would I give away a portion of my income? One day, I might need that money and who would come to my aid at that time?

"Set aside daily time to pray." Objection: I'm busy and if there is a God, He already knows what I need.

"Let God establish and maintain your priorities in life." Objection: God gave me a mind, so I should use it. I am the captain of my fate. I am doing it my way.

"Run away from sin." Objection: no one is perfect and no one should try to be perfect. Trying to be perfect is an exercise in useless frustration. You learn from mistakes.

Looking at it from the inside:
"Forgive your enemies". Benefit: I am free from the injuries of others. I let God settle all scores.

"Support your church and worthy causes." Benefit: I make a permanent, tangible difference in the world by my choices about being generous. God provides for my needs and enjoyments.

"Set aside daily time to pray." Benefit: God shows me how to face life's challenges when I value His viewpoint enough to spend regular time listening for His guidance.

"Let God establish and maintain your priorities in life." Benefit: God gave me a mind, but I can't see around corners and I can't see five or ten years into the future. He knows what is, and what is to come.

"Run away from sin." Benefit: No matter what it looks like or how it feels, sin is a waste of my time and my purpose. My time-wasting days are over.

Are you on the inside or the outside?

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