Recently we had an excellent discussion on twitter about the following idea that @JakeBishop8 shared: “Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”
In response to this idea we retweeted, another Jake (@JakeBelder) jumped in with: “If Christ is Lord over all, is it right to say there are things that don’t really matter?”
What ensued was a great interaction between two “Jakes” about what matters in God’s Kingdom. We came out with consensus and one of the results was this guest blog post by Jake Belder. We hope it inspires you to see how everything matters when you are On Call in Culture for Christ!
If Christ is Lord, Everything Matters
It is common to hear Christians talk about “living in the light of eternity.” Not too long ago, there was a popular video going around in which Francis Chan talked about this very thing, using a long rope as an illustration. The Bible, of course, speaks of this too—Paul says that “we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For…what is unseen is eternal (2 Cor. 4:18). And the glorious vision of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21 gives us great hope for an eternal life in the new creation.
While such a perspective is clearly biblical, it needs to be understood properly. When people begin to think in these categories, a common temptation is to view life as split into two areas: spiritual things that matter and that have eternal significance, and everything else, which does not. This perspective is not true to Scripture, and doesn’t honour the confession that most Christians—despite the glaring inconsistency—are eager to make: that Christ is Lord over all.
What then does it mean to live in the light of eternity? It begins with recognising that the “all” in the statement above refers to the whole of created reality. This is where the root of the problem often lies, for many Christians have a narrow view of creation that does not go beyond the physical stuff that we can see and touch. But creation includes the whole of our creaturely existence, the norms and laws and structures that God has woven into the fabric of reality that guide and give shape to our life on this earth.
If all we wanted to say is that everything matters, we could stop here. But we need to go farther. The distorting effects of sin have touched every part of creation. This reality is what often gives rise to the dichotomy many operate with, for the goodness of the created reality is so marred by sin that it can be hard to even see it anymore. Our response is to give up on what we perceive to be temporal things—large swathes of our life within culture—and to go into preservation mode, concerning ourselves with our personal piety and with saving the souls of others.
But God doesn’t abandon any part of his creation. As that great line in “Joy to the World” goes, the redemption that comes through Christ extends as “far as the curse is found.” God is committed to redeeming every single part of his creation from sin.
Just as God is committed to his creation, so we should be. Nothing is so distorted by sin that it is unredeemable. Our call in culture is to bear witness to the redemption of Christ in every area of our creaturely lives. Nothing that we do is insignificant. Work, play, art, music, politics, journalism—these are all shaped by God’s creative design. It is true that Satan wants control over all of them; indeed, he desires control over the totality of creation. As servants of Christ, we must respond by demonstrating what all of life looks like under the rule of Christ and resolutely refuse to allow Satan to have mastery over anything good that God has made.
Living in the light of eternity means actively seeking to demonstrate Christ’s rule over all of life, offering the world around us a foretaste of “what is unseen” – that glorious future when the whole of creation is redeemed and everything finds its fulfilment and flourishing under the consummated rule of the true King.
Today’s Guest Blogger: Jake Belder
Jake Belder lives in the city of Hull in the northeast of England, where he serves as an assistant minister at St John’s Church, Newland. In addition to sharing in the preaching and pastoral duties, he is responsible for developing and coordinating the church’s community outreach work. Originally from Hamilton, Ontario, he studied at Redeemer University College and trained for the ministry at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida. He is married to Robin.