What are we here for?

I see the meme on facebook often enough, it’s a quote that’s been around since well before social media.  It’s from Hunter Thompson. (I’ve never seen the attribution before.  Huh.)

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!””

Now, obviously as a Christian I’m not planning to show up in a cloud of smoke.  😉   Nor do I care about what kind of “ride” life is/was/will be.   But the intention to use this life well, and use it up?  Yes, please.

Sometimes we as Christians can focus too much on the temporal benefits of Christianity.  Obviously if you obey the Good Book, your life is better.   God’s law and it works most of the time.  Huh.  Who’d have thought…

But Christianity isn’t an insurance policy.  Living for Christ isn’t about living some safe, outwardly perfect life.  It’s about taking crazy chances, and seeing fruit you never imagined three generations out.  It’s about sure things falling through.  It’s about spending yourself for people who blow you off and spit in your face, picking yourself up and doing it again tomorrow.

Yeah, it works out better than the world’s way of doing things.  I have a really nice life, even if that whole “eating less sugar” thing has cut way down on the jello-salad intake.  😉  But having a nice life, having nice things, that’s not the point.  I have *everything* in Heaven.  I have more love than I can imagine – in Heaven.  I have a wonderful, beautiful new body – in Heaven.  I have an amazing place to dwell… in Heaven.

In short – I have all the riches of the universe just waiting for me when I get to Heaven, which is my real home.  So what if this life is a bit of a camping trip?  What do I want to have Jesus say about me, in the end?  “You had heaven on Earth, and now you have Heaven here too!” or “You gave Me yourself, and let Me work through you.  Look at this bushel of fruit that came from your life!”

Personally… I pick the latter.  Not that I sneeze at having a good life, don’t misunderstand.  But *that’s not the point*.  Serving God, to my last breath – that’s the point.

4 thoughts on “What are we here for?

  1. sunshinemary

    Hearthie, do you think we have any duty to work toward creating/maintaining healthy societies? I’m always conflicted about this. Sometimes we get into these conversations on my blog (or at least we used to, when I used to allow commenting) about saving Western Civilization and then we talk about how the point isn’t Western Civ but rather the Gospel, and I agree with all that, and yet. Are we not to concern ourselves at all with the creation of functional societies? And how do we balance our concern for the earthly with our concern for the eternal? This is always a big struggle for me to sort out.

    1. hearthie Post author

      We have a stewardship to the temporal – we have to do what we have to do. But what changes – truly changes – a society? IMO, change comes within. If we can reach hearts for Jesus and get His light into the hearts around us, then He will create the softness and willingness to change, prick some consciences…. and then we can say, “Here is what our Lord would have us do, this is the way He tells us to live.” The worldlings don’t care. They don’t accept our King, so they aren’t interested in His laws. The new converts might be clueless and need a bit of time to get acclimated (I am NOT going to go swat off all the baseball caps in church, really I’m not… ) but they have a desire to follow Christ, they have motivation to change.

      So I do think there is a place for “live like this” – but that this place is within the Church. And the reason that we live as we live is to please our Lord, not for temporal reward. Because His ways are good – but they guarantee nothing. What ARE we guaranteed? Suffering. Trial. Tribulations.

      Some of this – maybe a lot of this – is my approach to eschatology. I don’t think we get a “fix this and Jesus comes back” button, I think it’s “it’s all going to Hell, and Jesus will come back when it’s at its worst”. At the very LEAST – even if our Lord is not soon to return – I don’t see our society changing without radical amounts of pain. Like world war and economic destruction and famine and … you get the idea. So my logical response is either to corral up somewhere sustainable with as many other Biblical Christians as I can lasso in… or to stand up and do what I can until the Master calls me Home.

      If the Lord so chooses to move me into the first situation, I will rejoice, but in the meantime… I’m doing the second.

    2. Maeve

      I’m a little late to the conversation, but you know, Sunshine, I would have to say the answer is “Yes – we do have a duty to work toward creating a healthy society” and I say this because I’m charged with living out the Divine Works of Mercy – both Corporeal and Spiritual – my very life is to carry these out – this is the way I am to live my faith (for practical purposes) and it’s part of my obligation to “love your neighbor as yourself”

      Corporal Works are Feed the hungry, Give drink to the thirsty, Clothe the naked, Shelter the homeless, Comfort the prisoners, Visit the sick, Bury the dead

      Spiritual Works are Teach the ignorant, Pray for the living & dead, Correct sinners, Counsel those in doubt, Console the sorrowful, Bear wrongs patiently, Forgive wrongs willingly

      (sometimes the versions sound a little different, but you get the gist).

      These are not things I do for myself, but for others, although it helps to foster a better attitude of selflessness (and I fail at this a lot). I guess, I cannot uncouple these from my faith – it’s not about “good works” (although I’m all for good works), it’s about our calling to be, well, I guess “Christ for others”.


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