Not of This World?

There is a very popular bumper sticker that a lot of Christians in my hometown have on their cars.  It reads simply, “Not of this World.”  Maybe you’ve seen one or even have one.  It is a reference to John 18:36; and you probably know the story.  Jesus is before Pilate and Pilate is questioning Christ about why the people have brought Him to be crucified.

Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Jesus says in reply, “My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants (would) be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”

I think the point of the bumper sticker is that, as Christians, we need not despair when things don’t go our way here on earth…in fact we probably should not even expect them to at all, since the kingdom we belong to is “not of this world”.

Alright, fair enough.  This is all certainly true.  And it’s also true that we need to always remember that we are just passing through here; that our ultimate goal is Heaven and that we should not get caught up in the material things of this world. …But am I the only one who finds it just a little depressing that this has become the battle cry of young Christians?  No one expect to be happy here on earth. Love your neighbor as yourself and all that; but we’re all really just waiting to die and go to Heaven.

…Really?  Because I thought we believed in a God who created the world and called it “good”.  I thought we believed in a God who created us and declared us “very good”.  So why all the doom and gloom, Christians?

It’s so important to remember that we are not created simply for this world.  It’s so important to make every decision with Heaven (and Hell) in mind.  But it’s just as important that we realize that this material world is not evil (even though, yes, it does have evil in it).

So feel free to rep the bumper sticker (to be honest, I own some NOTW clothing).  Just make sure you’ve got both sides of the story.  God put you on this earth for a reason :)