Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
~John 4.13-14 (ESV)
I’m sure you’ve heard the old colloquialism, “You’re so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good”? Probably less familiar is the traditionalist ideology that this is actually a good thing. I really don’t think that mindset should characterize Christians. But the thought process is out there, pervading many churches that preach a “Get Out of Hell” gospel.
I don’t think that’s what Christ died for. Sure, there’s the beauty of an afterlife spent by His side. But is that the emphasis of the story of Jesus? Christ said He came “that [we] may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn 10.10). The assurance of an afterlife spent with Christ is a wonderful thing, but is that the point of faith in Christ? I really believe God did something bigger than that when He spilled His own blood for us.
All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
~2 Corinthians 5.18-20
Did you catch that? “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ.” There’s something amazing in that sentence.
God created the world and everything in it and said that it was good. Creation was good. But it was broken. Humanity, once the Crown Jewel of Creation, became its Scourge as Man chose to turn his back on God and taint the earth with his rebellion.
But God never turned His back on Man, and in an amazing act of purest love, poured everything He was into humanity and set in motion the reconciliation of Creation. That was the very moment Eternal Life began.
There’s something else in that passage. “He has committed to us the message of reconciliation.” God is using us to reconcile the world to Himself!
Each Christ-follower has been given a priceless gift and an incomparable charge.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
We’ve been given the power of Christ. But like Uncle Ben said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Christ has charged us with the spreading of His gift here on earth.
Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
If God is reconciling all of Creation to Himself through Christ, and Christ has given us the right and responsibility to be His hands and feet here on earth, shouldn’t our goal be the uniting of Heaven and Earth? Or as Pastor Tim puts it, “Bringing up there. . . down here.”
What do you think that would look like?
This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice.
~Matthew 10.42 (The Message)
I think it’d be a good idea if Christians stopped thinking so much about eternal life in heaven and started thinking more about eternal life on earth. You’re going to die; there’s nothing you can do about it. You can’t do anything about what lies on the other side of that. But Christ has given us the power to do something about what’s going on around us now. He’s given us the power to bring an eternal, more abundant life to earth.
Are we even trying?