Jesus repeated the question:
“Simon son of John, do you love me?”
“Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.”
“Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said.
John 21:16 NLT
In my life, there have been two questions that dramatically changed my life trajectory.
- How would your life look different if you really believed that God is who he says he is in the Bible?
- How would your life look different if you gave up the illusion that there can be heaven on earth?
The first question was asked in my Bible study group about 5 years ago. It sounds like a question that should be asked of someone who has never been introduced to Christianity, but we were a group of life-long Christians. And – believe it or not – every single one of our group members’ answers to that question revealed that we were each living with a little bit of doubt, fear, or reservation. It was that question that was the catalyst to beginning a) this blog and b) my goal of reading through the entire Bible at the pace of one chapter a day.
The second question I just discovered this week in a 7-day devotion called “No Fear” by Time of Grace ministries. I had to read the question at least 4 times before I stopped being mad at it. Then, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had absolutely been walking through life believing that there was some kind of equation I was missing that, if found, could make this place feel like heaven.
At the risk of sounding like a Debby Downer, the truth is that this earth will never be heaven.
At the risk of sounding like a know-it-all-Bible-dork, Jesus came, lived, died, and rose because he wanted to give us a way to get out of here someday and hang out in the real Heaven. THAT means that we aren’t forced to choose between a) a life of illusion and ignorance or b) a fog of depression at what our world will never be.
THAT means that our life still has one more question to answer… and this one comes from the big guy himself:
Do you love me? – Jesus (John 21:16a)
Because – if the answer is yes – he’s got something to keep you busy while you live your pre-Heaven time here on earth.
Then take care of my sheep. – Jesus (John 21:16c)
We’ve got a role to play in this crazy place before we go home. Our role is to be a part of a counter-cultural group of family God calls “the Church.” As part of this family, your job will be to show lavish, God-rooted unconditional love to anyone God puts in your path.
No. Matter. What.
So, there are the questions. What are your answers?
Dear Lord, I feel a little dangerous putting these thoughts “out there.” I’m a little scared that I sound crazy or extreme. I’m a little scared that sharing my questions will cause people I love to dismiss me and distance themselves from me. Please let my words be drenched with humility. Please continue to help me find the questions that are worth asking and give me the courage to believe your answers. Amen.