THE BRIGHT FUTURE AHEAD
I’ve been re-reading the classic novel 1984 (George Orwell), which paints a dreary picture of a future systematized, meaningless version of humanity, where souls were reduced in sad slavery to the infamous “Big Brother.” Ostensibly, Big Brother was benefiting people by his everywhere-oversight and his direct control of every detail of life – and even by his attempted control of thought itself!
Winston, the main character, struggles with a sort of gut-level knowledge that things are not right in the world as he is experiencing it, but every trace of truth, purpose, abundance, or beauty has been deliberately extinguished.
What is striking me the most on this re-read (I think my first time through was in high school) is what it would mean to live with no ultimate purpose – to serve a system that only exists to keep itself going. What would be the point of that?
Sadly, I think many people in our world today suffer from the same sort of disillusion as Winston – they are born, they grow up, they work, they live, they win, they fail, they save, they love…and then they die. Now, this doesn’t all happen under the watchful eye of Big Brother (well, come to think of it, um…) and thankfully, our world is still full of taco salads, flower arrangements, orange juice, fresh air, education, family farms, travel opportunities and children’s laughter (and a thousand other wonderful things we probably take for granted).
But even good things don’t matter without purpose. That’s why I’m glad God has a vision for each one of us that defines the meaning of our lives. Understanding His vision of the future helps us understand why He took such great care in creating us, then redeeming us through Jesus. Every part of our lives has great value – every choice we make matters. He wants us to joyfully walk with Him, forever.
Last Sunday, in Part 4 of our “Big Picture” sermon series, we connected some important dots biblically between God’s desired outcome for our lives, our own vision for the future, and, critically, the mission He wants us to accomplish during our time on earth.
A Christian Vision
Far from the dank, cold, miserable twilight of Orwell’s future, God created each of us to experience a dynamic, eternal relationship with Him, as a part of His kingdom family forever. No matter how dark our circumstances on earth become, we can say with the Apostle Paul, “Our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us” and, in another text, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
A Christian vision looks forward to walking with God daily through every up and down of life (Psalm 23). It has confidence in the bright future God has promised to those who’ve put their faith in Jesus (Hebrews 11). A Christian vision looks ahead to Judgment Day with excitement, when finally we can see our Savior face-to-face, and He will reward us for our faithful, fruitful lives.
On that day, we will see how every action mattered, how every word counted, how every attitude made an impact. Rather than a mundane, painful drudgery, we will discover that every aspect of our lives mattered greatly, and we will give an account to Jesus for our use of all He gave us (2 Corinthians 5:10, Matthew 25:14-30).
Because we have faith in this great vision of the future, we can set our hearts on accomplishing the mission God has given us in the present. I like to summarize our mission this way: the Great Commandments + the Great Commission (i.e., “love God, serve people, and reach the world”).
Does your heart echo the following statements?
VISION: “My vision is to walk closely with God forever, anticipating great reward in His kingdom, excited about meeting Christ face-to-face at the end of a faithful, fruitful life.”
MISSION: “Pursuant to this vision, I choose to say ‘Yes’ to God in every category of my life. I want to love Him wholeheartedly, serve people humbly, and reach the world boldly.”
There is such joy ahead for any who receive God’s wonderful gift of abundant, eternal life; such an amazing, colorful, creative, loving, adventurous future awaits!
Interim Teaching Pastor