Thursday, December 29, 2011

Partakers in the age to come

From D.A. Carson:
I recall, a number of years ago, leading the Bible study at the Bell Labs in Chicago. The Christian I knew there observed that at the lunch break various clubs were formed, so he thought, “If they can start clubs, I can start one too.” So he organized a Bible club, and it was just for the scientists in his unit, around thirty-seven of them. The format was simple enough: for eight weeks, I would teach something from the Bible for about twenty minutes, while they ate their lunches. After that, they would ask questions for thirty minutes or so.

The man who got this whole thing started was the only Christian in this group, besides me. There were also a failed Buddhist, a failed Hindu, a failed Catholic, a failed Lutheran, and the rest were unbelievers. So we had a fairly biblically illiterate group, and I was trying to unpack the Bible for them.

On about week five or so, I was dealing with Matthew 6:19–21:
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I noted that this passage does not tell us to guard our heart; it tells us to choose our treasure. I noted further that the reason for this was that what you treasure most is where your heart will go.

One of the group members, a Hindu chap, said, “Do I understand you right?” I asked him, “What do you think I have said?” “Well,” he began, “this is a pretty good research establishment. There are several Nobel laureates amongst us, we have a good budget, excellent projects, and most of us are really glad to be here. We have worked hard to get where we are, and we have our lives pretty well mapped out. Who knows, but maybe two or three more of us will get Nobel prizes in the next few years. We will work hard and advance, and at the age of sixty-five we will retire. We’ll continue on as consultants and hire ourselves out in this or that way, write a couple of books that we were unable to write while working, and then produce some more technical papers. We will slow down a wee bit and then play with our grandchildren, and after that it gets a bit fuzzy. But you are saying that Jesus says we shouldn’t plan for the next thirty years. We should plan for the next fifty billion or so. Is that right?” I replied, “That sounds exactly right to me. That is what Jesus is talking about.”

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