It’s Not Where We’re Going, It’s What We Do

My study is in a period of John. One of my small groups is reading the Gospel, another the Revelation. I’m more interested in the Gospel.

I’ve been reflecting on all my readings of the Gospels over the past 50 years or so. The thought popped up some time ago–the message of the Gospels and indeed the message of Jesus rarely had anything to do with heaven and hell.

Many of my friends devote many cycles of their brain functioning worrying about who is going to heaven and who is going to hell.

Mostly the message is all about our relationships. Primarily our relationship to God. That determines our relationships to money (often a topic) and to others. That may be why thinkers such as Richard Foster and Dallas Willard talk so much about the “with-God” life.

I started to meditate in my late teens. The theory was that you meditated to achieve “enlightenment” or a God experience. Many contemplatives have written about their revelations and experiences. I have also on occasion.

But this old Zen proverb just came to my attention again–“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”

It’s not about enlightenment, God experiences or who’s going to heaven. It’s about what we do and how we do it and our motivations in the next minute. I often ask my students, “When you leave this room, what will you do? How will you act? What will be your attitude?”

Am I living with-God minute-by-minute? It’s the relationship.

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