I’ve heard a lot of people say our purpose as Christians is to get everyone saved and evangelism is the primary Christian virtue and calling. But that idea begs the obvious question, what happens after evangelism?
In fact I think a lot of the things we look at as being parts of our identity as Christians are actually only temporary, such as the fact that the five-fold ministry, pastors, teachers, apostles, prophets, and evangelists, will not be needed in heaven.
I Corinthians 13: 9-10 “For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.”
Hebrews 8:11 “None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.”
If everyone on earth was saved, would we have lost our primary callings as Christians? Or would our primary calling, to love each other as Christ loved us and gave his life for us, become fully realized.
I think we focus on callings, gifts, and growing in understanding because of a need to do something worthwhile with our lives. The reward center in our brains keep us seeking after things that give us a feeling of accomplishment. Those “important” things in life consume our focus.
But if we’re not careful, we can make the very mistake we are trying to avoid by doing something “productive,” which is that we might be misled into ignoring the most important things, love and relationships.
Because we know long after prophesy ceases and none has need of a teacher, love will endure.
What this means in practical terms is spending an evening with a friend might actually have just as much eternal impact as say…. writing an article for Geeks Under Grace…. hehehe
If this life is but a twinkling of an eye than our purpose in this life is equally fleeting. And the purpose of our creation as eternal beings is something different.
I’m not saying teaching or prophesy or evangelism isn’t worthwhile. How would anyone get to heaven if no one spread the good news of Christ, and how would they spread that news unless someone taught them how?
I am saying all these thing we do with our lives are tools to accomplish an end, not an end to themselves. If we start using them without the proper end in mind, we may end up misusing them.
When this life ends everything changes, even the fruit of the spirit. Ever think about the fact that there will be no long-suffering in heaven? No patience? After all, there is no more sin to suffer or be patient with.
Which means patience is not an end in itself either, its just what happens when love encounters sin in the object of its affection. So if we want more patience, we should seek to have more love.
In the end it’s still as simple as realizing it’s all about relationship and love. So many of the things we think of as core to expressing love are actually a result love currently interacting with sin in the world.
Any teaching, no matter how deep, might have no value if it doesn’t produce more love and relationship within the body, or with God.
A day spent relaxing with friends might actually be more eternally productive than a day spent working smart and hard and “getting a lot done”
Being productive means engaging in love and relationship, or helping others to do so, not in making something, learning something, or doing something.
Even our knowledge of good and evil will go away as we return to innocence.