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Bookstores, Life After Death, and Loving God Today

I love bookstores. I can’t imagine what could be better than the smell of a brand new book or seeing the thousands of books on the shelves at a bookstore.

Once when my wife and I were on vacation we visited three different bookstores in five days. As my wife says, “It’s a vacation well spent.”

I’ve noticed, when I go to the “Christian” section, the overwhelming majority of books are about the end times, eternal life, or something about heaven or hell.

The concept of eternal life is fundamental to Christianity. I was taught that I need to accept Jesus now because it’s the difference between going to heaven or hell.

Then once I “receive Jesus into my heart” (whatever that means) all I need to do is wait. I’m all good. I’m guaranteed a seat in heaven. Either I will die and then meet Jesus or Jesus will return to earth.

Is eternal life simply about waiting?

Is it about a guaranteed seat?

Is it solely about living forever?”

About a month or two ago as I was at church, the teaching pastor said something that shifted how I think about eternal life. He said, “In the Jewish context, the context in which the Bible was written, eternal life meant, how do I love God today.”

I believed eternal life had nothing to do with today but it had everything to do with the future. If eternal life means “how to I love God today?”, then I had it all wrong.

Eternal life has everything to do with today, right now.

For people in the 1st century, eternal life wasn’t about a one-time decision. It wasn’t about accepting Jesus into your heart. For people in the 1st century, it was about saying yes every day.

It’s a nonstop yes to God.

How am I going to love God today?

Loving God means putting God and others before myself today, tomorrow, and the day after that. It’s choosing to say yes and when tomorrow comes around I again say yes.

It’s a continuous yes to God and to others.

This eternal life way of living doesn’t stop. It’s as if the 1st-century Jewish culture knew we had to keep going and going just like that silly pink bunny with the blue sandals and a battery in its buttcheek.

Eternal life no longer could be something I thought about passively, something that was off in the distance. Eternal life had to become important to me today.

Jesus doesn’t want us to wait on Him as if He’s twiddling His thumbs in the corner thinking of the best time to show up. Jesus isn’t fashionably late. Jesus shows up every day.

Am I going to show up too or am I going to just twiddle my thumbs?

Eternal life is about making a decision to follow Jesus each day. I first made a choice when I was 10 years old. I used to believe this was it, I made my decision, now I’m done.

The same choice I made when I was ten has to be made each morning, as I’m at work, as I’m with my friends and family, and everywhere in-between.

Today I have to say yes to Jesus.

Every day I’m figuring out what it looks like to be eternal life. I’m figuring out how to love God.

Today eternal life isn’t about me, it’s not about waiting to be taken to heaven. It’s just the opposite.It’s how I can love God today. It may seem simple enough, but it’s anything but simple. It’s one of the most challenging things I do.

It may seem simple enough, but it’s anything but simple. It’s one of the most challenging things I do.

Some days I’m great at loving God and other days, not so much.

The important thing is, the next morning, I wake up with the same question, “How can I love God today”?    Tweet This

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