There is a story about a concerned brother visiting an elderly sister who has not been attending the meeting recently. “I am worried about you,” he says. “You should be thinking more about the Hereafter.” The sister answers, “Oh I do that all the time. Every time I walk into a room I am always asking myself, ‘Now, what am I here after?’”
The elderly sister totally misinterpreted the brother’s concern for her spiritual welfare. She was thinking of her daily problems and not about God’s plan of salvation. Unfortunately, a careless attitude about God and His word is typical of many people in our world. Instead, they are fascinated by the trivial, by the entertainment industry and its stars, by sports teams and star athletes, by politicians and local gossip. Beyond these interests, most folks think only about the mundane cares of daily living rather than the great future that the Lord has planned for the faithful. Yet, every single person is going to die. Life, death and the hereafter should be matters of profound interest to every one of us.
God wants us to know about the hereafter, and has written the Bible so that we can. The message of the Bible is a message of hope, of how we must live our lives now in service to our God, of forgiveness of sins, and of the hope of resurrection from death to a life of immortality in the Kingdom of God. What a wonderful future! Imagine living forever in a delightful world with no sorrow, pain or suffering. The Lord wants us to center our minds on thinking about the wonderful future that He has planned for us, the hereafter in the Kingdom of God, instead of focusing on the cares of this life.
Jesus explains what to do and what not to do: “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day.”
It is surprising that most people cannot be bothered to concern themselves about the coming Kingdom. There are signs indicating that the return of Jesus is soon, but people aren’t watching and don’t care. There will be a time of judgment when Jesus returns to set up his Kingdom on earth. Jesus told us this would happen. We need to pay attention to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ when he warns us, “And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
The people of Lot’s day and Noah’s day were too busy with their everyday lives to think about God. In Genesis we read what God thought of their thinking: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” When men ignore God, ignorance of His laws removes self-restraint; and we see that the world of Noah became full of violence, and the city Lot lived in was immoral. Sadly, our world has pushed God out of its thoughts, and there are far too many appalling acts of brutality as well as a disregard for the standards of morality that used to be upheld. The return of Jesus will bring judgment as a necessary part of establishing a Kingdom of peace and righteousness.
We must be different if we want to be granted a place in the Kingdom of God. We can see how the world around us is thinking, just like those in Lot’s day and Noah’s day who had no time for God and sunk into wickedness until God destroyed them. What should our thinking be like? We read in Psalms, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.”
We must fill our minds with the word of God, delight in it, and meditate on it. Then we will be transformed. Paul tells us, “Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to Him.” Let us lift our minds above the mundane cares of the world and keep our thoughts centered on the Lord, delight in reading His word and thinking about His glorious promises to us. May He find us so doing when Jesus comes to call us to him.
Our hope for the hereafter is the hope of the resurrection, the hope David spoke of when he said, “I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” May we all pray and live the prayer of David when he said, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”
Robert J. Lloyd