As I mentioned in my last post, I have been hanging out at the Religion and Spirituality page at Yahoo! Answers for awhile. While the majority of the questions and answers on that site are really little more than thinly (and often not so thinly) disguised attacks on religion, there is an occasional gem.
One poster asked: "Do Christians put anything off until the afterlife?" He added:
I heard some say that atheists should make more of their lives since we believe we only have this one life to live. So do Christians not cram as much into their lives as we do, thinking they have all eternity to play with?
I thought that was a reasonable question. After all, we hear about how we are to "go for the gusto" (for those old enough to remember that advertisement) and "live life to its fullest." We only go around once in life (so it is said), so we have to grab all we can.
Is that what Christians do? After all, as the question notes, we don't believe in just this life. We are citizens of heaven and looking towards eternal life.
I think that Christians should live life as fully as atheists. As a person who answered noted, we are called by God to fight the good fight and to press on to the finish. We can't do that if we are sitting back waiting for the next world. Jesus himself, in the parable of the talents, condemned the man who was given talents and merely buried them in the back yard until his king returned. So Christians, like non-Christians, are called to live life to its fullest.
The difference between Christians and non-Christians in this area is in what we pack into our lives. Whereas non-Christians try to get as much of the world as they possibly can, Christians are to strive to live a life where we grow as close to Jesus as possible. This means getting out to help others, love our neighbors, teach them about God. We are to do this with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength.
Visiting Mount Rushmore or the Eiffel Tower or the Taj Majal are all great things. Climbing Mount Everest is a fine goal. There is nothing wrong with those things. But to a Christian, those things are only secondary -- they are pursuing shadows of the worldly which is not what we are called to do. We are called to live lives in holy devotion to Christ with every fiber of our being.
That is something that we cannot and should not put off to the afterlife.