Saturday, August 25, 2007

Getting Life in Perspective

Earlier this month, as a promotion for John Ortberg's latest book "When the Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box," a hearse loaded with all sorts of paraphernalia traveled around parts of the United States. While a clever publicity stunt, it makes a powerful point. Too often people live for the here and now as if this is all that there is. The Bible, however, tells us that this is only the beginning of a life that is either spent enjoying the presence of God forever or hopelessly absent from him forever.

In the summer here in Canada many people are traveling here and there on vacation sometimes with vehicles loaded down with all that they need to survive just a few days or weeks away from home. Our materialistic culture continually tells us that we need more and more and the number of "toys" we possess is a measure of our worth and success in a world that is addicted to things. But the message of biblical Christianity as it comes to full flower in the new covenant is quite different. The early church and early Christians were marked by a simplicity of lifestyle that is rarely seen here in the West. Our assumption is that material things equals the blessing of God, but much more needs to be said before such a reductionistic conclusion can be properly sustained. Ortberg is right. When the game is over it all goes back in the box! That might not be the message a volatile stock market dependent on consumer spending wants to hear, nor is it comforting to those who are busy creating their heaven on earth, but it is bottom line truth that we ignore or explain away at our peril. Sometimes it takes graphic images to get people to think. I trust that these pictures of a hearse may point us to the only one who can give life that is truly life.

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