"[Much of the misunderstanding of the message] goes back to how you read the Bible.
"A lot of Christians have been taught a story that begins in chapter three of Genesis, instead of chapter one. If your story doesn't begin in the beginning, but begins in chapter three, then it starts with sin, and so the story becomes about dealing with the sin problem.
"So Jesus is seen as primarily dealing with our sins. Which is all true, but it isn't the whole story and it can lead people into all kinds of despair when it comes to understanding just why we're here. The Bible begins in Genesis one, not with sin but with blessing, not with toil and despair but with life, and creativity, and vibrant participation with God in the ongoing creation of the world" (Rob Bell, Leadership online, February 2012).
Sometimes one thought, succinctly stated, can change your outlook and rebalance your thinking. Such was the case when I read the quote above. I like it simply because it reminds me that our Christian walk is about more than just being saved and going home.
Certainly faith is about eternity, heaven and being saved by the power of Christ’s death on the cross. However, if that is our only message then we lose a large chunk of what I believe God intended for us.
Too often our “Get saved and go home” message has left us nothing to do now. Without intending it, churches have communicated that Christians are like people waiting at a bus stop. You have your pass. You know where you are going and all that is left to do is stand around and wait for the bus to show up.
However, even a cursory reading of the New Testament would be enough to show us that there is more going on. We are here for a purpose. We are here to do something. We are here to work with and walk with God. We are here to be a blessing to others.
The good news is that if we walk with God now, if we live in the light and try to be a blessing to others, not only do we get to go to heaven later, but we also get to experience a little bit of heaven here and now.
And that would be anything but passive and boring.
“Speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).