Unfortunately, I don't think this is the case. If we truly believed that this life is just a brief period of time before our true lives really begin, then our churches and we as Christians would look different. Our lives would be radically transformed by an eternal outlook.
I believe there would be more pastors, more missionaries, more short-term missions trips, more lay leaders, more budget giving, more missions giving, more giving to the poor, more outreach into our communities, more sacrifice, and in general, more love.
In the book Crazy Love, Pastor Francis Chan addresses this issue when he writes about the "profile of the lukewarm." Chan writes,
Lukewarm People think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today's to-do list, this week's schedule, and next month's vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C. S. Lewis writes, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this."Lukewarm People will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money, and energy they are willing to give.Lukewarm People give money to charity and to the church... as long as it doesn't impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right?Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God's Kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world?
I don't know about you, but I fall under conviction after reading statements such as these. I am compelled to reexamine all of my motivations in my life here on earth: what I am spending money on, who I am spending my time with, and what I am expending energy on.
So, what do you need to do to have a more focused, eternal outlook?