"some chrisitans are more offended by the idea of everyone going to heaven than by the idea of everyone going to hell."
-rachel held evans
i've heard more than once the statement "if there is no hell then why follow jesus?"
to which i come to a stand still. mouth on floor. dismayed.
i am no theologian. i do not have all the answers. but i will say this as i heard it said by a man i truly respect in that old baptist church...
"if i found out today that there was no heaven and that there was no hell...i would still follow jesus because i believe it is the absolute best way to live."
that resonated with me as a young twenty-something sunday school teacher. i didn't know then that i would begin a journey of discovery and these words would prove true and wise.
he loved the prostitute. the theif also know as the tax collector.
he loved the full of knowledge and the uneducated.
he loved the rich and the poor.
he loved the ungrateful and the thankful.
he loved the one that didn't have time for him because she was getting things done (thank god for this one). and the one who sat at his feet ready to be filled.
jesus stood up for injustices.
like when they brought the adulteress woman to him. the law was to stone. jesus saw more. he saw the culture that created this lifestyle. he saw the limitations on women. he recognized the crappy hand she had been delt. he gave her value. in my minds eye jesus said "hey you are loved. you are beautiful. and you can be more than this. follow me." he went against the grain. did the unexpected. he did it backwards.
jesus met needs.
he healed the sick.
he provided drink to the thirsty. food to the hungry.
he made others feel valued.
he was patient.
he forgave. and forgave some more.
so i will follow jesus. not because i fear hell or long for heaven. but because he lived an amazing life that, if mimicked, will lead to life abundant.
[a-bun-dant] :: present in great quantity; more than adequate; oversufficient.