By Joel A. Hess –
This past week, Mark Zuckerberg boldly put down three billion dollars with the brash goal of eradicating all illness by 2100. Why not, right? I admire his ambition. It is probably what got him to where he is today. Actually, his goal and dream has been pursued for some time now. It is quite a modernist pursuit for such a postmodern age; we can and will make everything better.
While I admire his intention, I promise that we will all be quite disappointed come 2100. Until we eradicate sin, disease and death will always be with us. All the advances made by technology over the past one hundred years gives Mr. Zuckerberg this hope. Yet, with all the heart transplants, antibiotics, and vaccinations, every single person is still dying! When one illness is cured, twenty more pop up. More of us may live until we are eighty, but so what? What’s eighty vs. ten in the big scheme of things?
Still, we all desperately look for life to get better. We look to our politicians. We look to our iPhone. We look to our doctors, lawyers, politicians, and appliances.
Sadly, it seems that pastors and churches encourage this same false hope. Of course, those clergy and church bodies that no longer believe in the resurrection point people to salvation in this life time. But even conservative, Bible-believing churches like to point people to hope in technology and medicine instead of the Lord. Sometimes preachers like Osteen and Copeland portray suffering as being wrong and against God’s will.
Jesus laid out an interesting parable about a poor man named Lazarus and a rich man. The rich man enjoyed a life of plenty. Life was good for him. Everything went well, and he relished in it wearing the best clothes and eating the best foods. Life couldn’t get any better. Meanwhile, there was a poor man whose life sucked. Life couldn’t get worse! Both of them died. The poor man enjoyed feasting with Abraham for eternity. Life couldn’t get better for him now!
While Jesus spoke this parable to destroy the Pharisees skewed vision of who is blessed by God and who is not, I realized something troubling in the story. Lazarus’ life never got better! His life sucked from birth to death.
Jesus was not chastising the rich for their neglect of the poor, per se; He was ultimately telling the Pharisees not to trust their outward condition as a determiner of where they will go when they die. Consequently, He was saying the same thing to those who have nothing. Don’t trust in your riches! Don’t trust in your poverty! Trust what God says and promises: what He gives in His Son Jesus Christ.
Your life might suck. You might never be healed. In fact, your life might get worse just like Lazarus! That does not mean God does not love you. It does not mean you are not blessed. Do not put your hope in the present but in Jesu’s promises that point to a future where you will enjoy a feast with Abraham. All of it bought not by Mr. Zuckerburg but by the blood of Jesus Christ!
All diseases will be cured, all hospitals will be demolished, and all graves will be opened, never to be closed again!