“If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.” 1 Corinthians xv.19
Christians are often at a loss for words when their friends or strangers asked them, “What will I get if I convert to your religion?” Obviously, such “seekers of truth” dream of a financial reward, a plush job, a house or even the possibility of migrating to an affluent country. Nevertheless, it’s easy to overlook the error of people whose sole interest is earthly prosperity. Their view of the Christian faith, shaped by their own religion or worldview, is skewed or limited.
As Christians, we know that our Lord Jesus Christ insisted that those who followed him should carry their cross daily, being willing to lay down their lives for the Master’s cause. He wants Christians today to fix their eyes on eternal life and a heavenly reward rather than on transient earthly prosperity. But what do we tell our born-again Christian brothers and sisters whose primary, and often only, motivation to follow the Lord Jesus Christ is a temporal breakthrough here and a breakthrough there? Their mind is pre-occupied with earthly concerns. Jesus portrayed this anxiety as thorns and thistles that choke the spiritual life of a Christian preventing him from achieving the goal of fruitfulness, namely, obedience.
Some Christians are unashamed in their pursuit of creature comforts. The kingdom of heaven is far removed from their thoughts. Never satisfied with what they have, their eyes and hearts are trained in greed. Contentment does not find a place on their ever-lengthening shopping list. Gluttony and consumerism are accepted as national pastimes (See Titus i. xii). Concerning such Christians, the Apostle Paul rightly said, “their god is their belly … their mind is set on earthly things.”
To make matters worse, many Christian churches and ministers stoop to pander to the interests of these earthly-minded Christians. The truncated gospel they preach is a mantra of “success” measured purely in terms of money, possessions, fame, and influence. Their spirituality too is deformed as a set of exercises to achieve selfish goals.
The resurrection of Christ is integral to the gospel. It should help us focus our minds on eternity. It should dictate our choices, our actions, our prayers and our priorities lest we should pervert our spiritual exercises to achieve temporal goals that are purely earthbound. “If we have put our hope in Christ for this life only, we should be pitied more than anyone.”