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Ultimate Reality!

Sep 15, 2007 at 12:52

By: Steve Hill

For several generations the evangelical community has been telling the world that heaven (ultimate reality) is a place of fulfilled material comfort, no responsibility and  perfect pleasure.  Ultimate reality is a place where the streets are paved with gold, Jesus is building a mansion for me and all I have to do is attend a wedding feast and play a harp!  Ultimate reality is  an out of this world retirement package!  Ultimate reality is escape!

Our world has been listening to our version of ultimate reality and they have decided that they want it now!    If ultimate reality is the fulfillment of every material desire then let me have it all now!   Why wait?   If ultimate reality is the absence of responsibility then let it begin now!  Why should I care about you?  If ultimate reality is the fulfillment of every desire that brings pleasure then pleasure is its own morality!  Why not do whatever feels good?

The church always leads.
The culture always follows.  
Then we look around and do not like where we find ourselves!

Maybe streets of gold simply means that materialism is not ultimate?  Maybe it means that gold is like asphalt?  Gold is only a means of getting somewhere?  What you have is not ultimate but what you do is?  Are you accumulating stuff that will rust or are you going somewhere?  Are you accumulating stuff or experiences?  Are you investing or only consuming?

Jesus clearly said that the reward for doing  one thing well here would be to have responsibility to rule over ten cities there!  The reward for fulfilled responsibility on this side is more responsibility on that side!  Responsibility, creative work, applied wisdom is the stuff of ultimate reality!  I must care about you now and maybe even more then!

Ultimate reality is not pleasure!  Fulfillment through the consumption of pleasure is the curse of the rich kid.  It only brings boredom.  Ultimate reality is love and faith that plan, risk and work towards the fulfillment of dream, calling and vision.  That is the meat that Jesus ate (John 4:34) and that we all need to eat!  Ultimate reality is a life laid down for a woman at a well!

Jesus did not commit Himself to be our servant to fulfill the Western consumer ideal lifestyle!  It is not your right to have everything nice!  He asked us to serve Him by laying down our lives unto Him and unto one another.  He asked us to serve Him in serving the least.  Ultimate reality is laying our lives down in responsibility for others, simplicity of lifestyle and the obedience of faith.  Jesus never promised us that He would make our lives easier!  He promised us persecution, suffering and difficulty along with grace to rejoice in the suffering!

If the new heaven and the new earth are some state of static perfection where nothing needs doing except playing a harp why does Revelation 22:2 say that  the tree of life is for "the healing of the nations"?

If all is perfected why does Jesus tell us in Matthew 25:21 that faithfulness in a few things will be rewarded with responsibility over many? To do what?  Why does Jesus call increasing responsibility "the joy of the Lord"?  

If all is  perfection how can faith, hope and love  abide forever  (I Corinthians 13:13) ?  What will we be exercising faith and hope for in the forever?

At the center of the throne is the Lamb that was slain.  Ultimate reality is love which lays its life down in responsibility for the other, in faith and hope that love will change them and bring them into relationship with the one who loves them!

Thank you Yuri for laying your life down for the multiplication of the Kingdom of God in Central Asia!  Thank you Jesus that whether in life or in death you receive the lives laid down unto You!  Thank you that each such life will bear much fruit!  Thank you that John 12:23- 28 is and always will be true!

Friends, the adventure of faith and love will never end!
Every blessing in your adventure!
Steve & Marilyn

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