Last night, I asked the youths at Lifehouse a question every Christian should consider. We read 2 Timothy 2:4-6. "No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops."
These three people, the soldier, athlete, and farmer all work hard. But they have motivation to reach a goal. The soldier wants to please his superior officer. The athlete wants to become a champion and win his contest. The farmer works hard so he has a good crop. But what's the goal of being a Christian? A few said, "telling other people about Jesus."
Telling people about Jesus is good, I replied. Jesus himself commissioned us to do just that. But why would Jesus want us to tell people about him?
Some other youths suggested, "So we can go to heaven?" One even said, "So we can have all that great stuff up there."
I decided to stay away from breaking down the idea of Beverly Hills Heaven. Instead, I remembered something I had heard from John Piper a few years ago. "What if you could go to Heaven and know for certain you would have the sweetest house, with the best skatepark and a chocolate fountain? What if you could never feel pain again and see all of your dead loved ones? If Jesus wasn't there, would you still want to go?"
Some of them immediately responded with "No", but I really appreciated one of the guys saying, "Well, I know the right answer is 'no', but I don't always think about it that way."
How many of us do think of it this way?
Maybe the goal of a Christian is simply to know God and have a relationship with Him. Maybe the goal of evangelism is so we can introduce other people to God and help them to know Him. I told the youths, "Don't read your Bible or pray or come to church just because you think you have to. At the same time, you won't have much of a relationship with God if you don't put any effort in getting to know Him. We should do the stuff because we want to know Him."
What do you think is the goal of Christianity?