Not wanting the end

January 1, 0001

I’ve had several conversations where this has been suggested: people don’t get involved in missions because they don’t really want the end of the world.

We all know we will die one day, but we don’t look forward to it.

We struggle to put it off as long as possible.

We want to live life as much as we can.

Few want to die while there’s more to be done, seen, experienced, owned.

Why do we not look forward to life after death? Unfortunately, because our idea of what life-after-death will be like is an experience that is less than the current existence.

Too many think of life after death as a disembodied soul singing and playing harps around a throne forever and ever.

We may intellectually think–almost as a “policy”–that surely life “in heaven” is more than this, but the idea of an eternal worship service around the throne (=singing, playing harps, etc) is reinforced in the format of our church services, our worship, and even the lyrics of our songs.

Compared to our present existence many hardly find this something to look forward to.

We refer to this humorously, but it seems a real problem.

Trying to motivate people with the vision of a future that they are not looking forward to is very difficult.

Especially if said motivation has guilt attached to it. (“If you really loved Jesus…")

It’s not surprising to me that social justice is often more motivating to people than their typical idea of missions.

Why should it not be? Social justice has the tinge of ruling-and-reigning-with-Jesus (Rev. 5:10, 20:6, 22:5).

Part of motivating people with a desire to work for the Kingdom is to have a good idea of what ‘the Kingdom’ means in the real lives of people.