Last night at church we were singing the old favorite “Count Your Blessings.” I know that to some degree this is scriptural – many of the psalms are recountings of things that God has done – so the song itself doesn’t bother me. Except for some reason, I was bothered by the following:
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings—wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
It really struck me – I am not envious of others who are receiving wealth in this world, with the attitude: “Well later on I’ll get mine!” I love what I have right now, Christ in me. I really don’t want to be living through this life as if it’s a great struggle but I get rewarded in the end. I don’t think it’s how we’re meant to live through this life.
We must be convinced that this life is the best way. That this boat we’re climbing (or being pulled) into is more than just salvation to an eternity with God and streets of gold, but to the best possible life now. I’m not talking the way prosperity preachers mean it, I mean that we must be convinced that the life following God, filled by His Spirit, is the best way to pilgrimage through this world. The life with the most meaning, peace, joy, purpose, fullness, fuller relationships, etc.
I get a little tired of hearing testimonies that make it sound like someone was having a blast and then they got saved. You know the ones that I mean: “I was drinking, messing around, doing what I wanted to – then I found Jesus!” You want to know what the kids hear? “I was having fun doing all the things of the world then Jesus came and put a stop to it.”
Eternal life starts upon the moment of salvation, not the moment of death. Following God and being filled by His Spirit now is the best life. There is no need for thinking, “Don’t worry, you can have yours now – I’ll get mine later.” This will change how you witness to people because you’ll want what is best for them right now. It will allow you to forgive people and carry their burdens because you know that right now you have the power of Christ within you.
It’s not about getting the last laugh. That thought alone means we have it all wrong. God loves these people. It’s not about sticking it to them.
(by the way – “The Last Laugh” by Mark Knopfler/Van Morrison is one of the more underrated songs around. Look it up.)