The worldwide concern for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and all of its effects has made us all think a little more about life. Not life without toilet paper, but life in particular. As far as I can tell, everybody wants to know two things at the end. First, “Did my life matter?” Secondly, and more importantly, when it’s over, “What’s next?” How about you?
Consider the title of this article. It may mean something like, “Sister (Brother), you’ve got to get out now and then!” Implying quality of life. Or, it could be understood as quantitative. “Friend, I’m offering you life, right now and then in the future.”
Remember the board game “Life?” Someone spins the dial clockwise and other players follow. Whoever has the highest number moves first. Each one in turn proceeds forward with the equivalent spaces spun, unless you reach a STOP space. Follow the directions on that space and your turn is over.
Throughout the game, players choose between starting a career or going to college, dealing with loans, stocks, buying a house, life events including marriage and having children, retirement, taxes and lastly, payday. This is quality. Living in the now.
Jesus says much about quality of life. “Don’t be anxious about your life, what you will eat or drink…nor about what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?“
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin…But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith!” ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-26, 28, 30, 33.
Are you dizzy yet? Jesus says get your priorities right. In the game you can hope for better spins next time around. Not so here and now. Everyone has one pass through. What then?
At the end of the game your debts are paid, life insurance is cashed in, house and stocks are sold and you put your game piece on either Millionaire Estates or Countryside Acres. Then wait for everyone else to finish and count your accumulated resources, Life tiles and wealth. Whoever has the most wins. Game over.
Not so in real life. You don’t cash in. Time has elapsed. Then comes the ‘Then’ part. “What comes next?”
Here’s one of the misconceptions people have about the Christian life. A lot of people have the idea that Jesus first and foremost came to this earth to encourage bad people to be good. Then they are rewarded in this life for good behavior. However consider this.
Jesus did not come primarily to make bad people into good people. Jesus came primarily to make dead people alive.
Listen to Jesus words. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep…I am the good shepherd” John 10:10-14
Consider this, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked…But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:1-6
This is the beauty of “Living, Now and Then.” Life here today and hereafter. How? Follow the Good Shepherd. Come to Jesus, not with goods or deeds, but with only your wandering self. Receive His life for yours. Then live. He will guide you joyfully through life’s “Stops.” Then after, an eternity of happiness with Him.
Millions have this confidence. How about you? We at Pine Grove Bible Church would be honored to help you enter your eternal voyage through life. Join us in your journey. Let’s live now and then together and forever. You won’t be disappointed.