I’m dedicating this post to my dad, who is 74, and fighting to regain health and vitality. In fact he had surgery today and as I write I’m waiting to hear the results.
Lately we’ve had multiple talks about the purpose and meaning of life. One of the themes we’ve discussed is that this life is essentially preparation for the life to come. It is easy to get so caught up in this life that we act like it is all there is and the life to come is a reward for how we live this life. But I’m not so sure that is wise.
What if, as C.S. Lewis put it, all of this life is just a preface for the real life to come? If this life is but a shadow of what heaven is like, and if the temporal is temporary compared to eternity, and if the separation we experience from God now is dissolved into the glorious bliss of being in the presence of our Lord and Savior–then how could this life be more than preparation? And if this is true then what happens here is more the means rather than the end.
If the life to come is the real life, the true life, then what is the purpose of this life? Perhaps, like during pregnancy, the main goal of this life is to prepare us for the next. That means our gestation consists of two essentials, coming to know Christ and becoming more like Him. If heaven is all about relating to God then first we have to begin the relationship and second we want to know Him better and better until He is so present in us that we find ourselves being reformed in His image.
This is good news for my dad because there are two things he can work on every day even without mobility and the ability to do much for others. He can grow in his character and Christ-likeness and he can help others come to know Him too. The second is a little trickier for him but through prayer, giving and using his time and energy he can make a difference. And the benefit is that it keeps him looking forward and feeling productive–if he chooses to look at life this way. The same could be true for you and for me. That’s a lot to think about. I’d love to hear what you think.
I share this with you because I’m tempted to value activity and accomplishment over preparation for eternity but that is the subject for another blog which will be another day. And because today is December 31, it will have to be another year!
Happy New Year!