A desire to depart

Monday Musings for February 27, 2017

Good morning, Musers,

I have a devotional thought today… and it’s about going home… but the “not yet” part of going home. You see, we are laborers in God’s vineyard, and as such, it’s okay for us to look forward to the end of the harvest. In fact, I find that to be a natural part of working any project. But — and even though we will have to bear the heat of the day — we should lean-in to the growing season too… because someone needs to dress the vines; someone needs to pray for rain; someone needs to chase the foxes… there is so much to do! But it’s not overwhelming… it’s the job.

Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe ministry postulates that the second law of thermodynamics is fine-tuned so that our work will not deteriorate at a discouraging rate… and I like that… because it is true: we are not overwhelmed. We understand that moth and dust doth corrupt (Matthew 6:19) in this world, but if it occurred at a rate where the dust reaccumulated in just one hour, no one would bother dusting — because the effort wouldn’t produce a sufficiently long-lasting result. Ross teaches that this is part of the redemptive process and that the new heavens and earth will play by different rules. I like that too! But in the meantime… we still have to dust… and maybe that’s four steps forward… and only one step back… which is fine.

But in our case, the vineyard owner designed his vineyard so that he will receive an optimal harvest with the maximum efficient effort of his workers. Also, he has made his Son Jesus its chief administrator — and this is why his workers are called Christians! But it is a special joy… and appropriately mixed with pride… when the laborer drinks of the vintage that was the product of his own hands… something a city-boy like me does not experience.

That’s a rough equivalent to Christian service. No doubt, there’s work to do — the Great Commission stands! But it is also appropriate to wonder what it will be like when this particular job is done. What will we do with the harvest? What will we do with ourselves? Or more critically, what will we do with Jesus — play softball? I doubt it…. but I’m not sure.

We have a lot of information about what our future will be like after Christ comes back… but it’s long on glorious imagery and short on the details… and it’s the details that hook us. I’m sure that we will be changed people in the eschaton, but I also know that we will be the same people… or else why would God have made like we are — every one of us unique and with a personal identity. Since these will persist in eternity, we will still be recognizable as the individuals we are today! So, the harp-and-cloud imagery of heaven had better be just that — imagery… because my current me would need a lobotomy to do that forever.

I think that we will rest from worry, though, not from activity — and I think that we will be in the thick of things with Christ. I see us continuing to learn, grow and work… but purely… all without sin. Admittedly, I am looking through a veil…. but unless there’s a football game on, I don’t see Jesus telling me to sit.

The apostle Paul pulled no punches. He loved his Church people, and he loved serving them… but he loved the idea of being in the presence of Christ more. He knew the deal, though; his work here was precious, and his time here was precious. But these joys didn’t measure up to the joy of being present with the Lord — even if it meant having no body for a while!

So, there is no dishonor in wishing to leave this world… as long as we leave the timing of departure to God. Look around; there are not a lot of people doing kingdom work — and the fact that God honors human free-will means that he can’t make anybody perform… so some stuff goes undone. For this reason, I don’t want any of you to check out early. We need to catch up a bit.

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