As we pass along our way in this life, we become increasingly invested in this world. And by
invested I mean our interest, our time, our concerns, those things which dominate our conscious thought. We are very much invested in this world, and we forget for a time that nothing—absolutely nothing—in this world can possibly last. As Solomon put it,
It is all vanity and a striving after wind. And is only after we become disinvested (often through some catastrophic loss or terrible pain) that we really come home; and we begin to remember what is important and find ourselves reaching for God and those things that last.
Being a Christian is, for those of us living in the here and now, an easy course. You may think you have some problems, but you don’t. We don’t even know what problems are. It has not always been so; and, in fact, is not so now in many places in the world. There it is very hard to follow Christ; and to invest anything of yourself in this world, as a Christian, is not only unwise, in too many cases it’s simply not possible.
In the first days of the Christian church, it was hard and all but impossible to invest much of yourself in this world; and that’s what led Paul to write to the Corinthians and say,
If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most pitiful.
Pitiful, if that’s where our hope is. So what is the hope that the Gospel conveys?