Are we there yet?
You’ve probably heard this question a hundred times, some of which, I’m sure, were from your own lips. We ask it when we’re on a journey and we’re ready to reach our destination. It’s probably poorly worded since the answer is obvious. What we really want to know is when will we get there?
As a Christian, you have a destination that is marvelously described at the end of the New Testament. It’s a place of beauty and healing, where the kings of the earth bring their glory, and the Lord is present in all his radiance, so bright that there is no night. In that place every tear will be wiped away by the Lord himself and there will no longer be any death. Sin itself will disappear. In the Old Testament such a place was foreshadowed at the height of Solomon’s reign, when a king ruled with justice and wisdom, in a time of peace and prosperity. While we may not use the words, the sentiment is felt: “are we there yet?”
The answer, of course, is no. We feel the weight of sin and death. We see suffering and injustice and oppression. And we struggle with our own addictions and idolatry. We have a long way to go.
The good news, however, is that we are on the right path. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” And he commissioned his followers to make disciples from all nations, which means baptizing them (marking them as belonging to the Lord and setting them on the road toward this great destination) and teaching them to obey everything the Lord has taught. That is the road to this glory. It’s called sanctification. The vehicle Jesus established to carry us down this road is the church.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, (Eph 4:11–12)
I think sometimes we forget that the church is not peripheral or optional when it comes to reaching our destination. It is God’s means for bringing us there. How does it get us there? The means of grace are the Word, the sacraments, and prayer. The Word is important because it comes from God himself.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Ti 3:16-17)
The sacraments are important as they are instituted by the Lord for us to do in perpetuity. The celebrate and point us to the work of God’s grace in our lives that not only brings us into his family but nourishes us with his real presence. As Paul writes to the Ephesians,
For through him we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Eph 2:18–22)
Prayer too is important as it reflects the real relationship that every believer has with our heavenly father. He invites us to come to him in prayer, gives us authority to accomplish his kingdom building, and exhorts us to abide in Him. Prayer is essential to that.
“Are we there yet?”
I hope that question (or sentiment) is on your mind when it comes to your future. When it isn’t it usually means one of two things. Either you have become complacent in your relationship with God and have settled for the “mud pies in the slums” rather than look forward to the “holiday at the sea” as C.S. Lewis describes. Or it means you are headed toward despair as all you see is a road that is getting darker and darker and you don’t want to be on it anymore.
“Are we there yet?”
I hope you are eager for this final destination. To get there you must be on the path of discipleship and the vehicle Jesus established to travel that path is the church. Commit yourself to engage in the ministry of the church.
Cornerstone is committed to working on our effectiveness in making disciples. At present we have a team working on evaluating our present structure and ministries, identifying opportunities and obstacles, and researching best practices that will help us hone our own efforts. We are also committed to working on a ten year strategic plan to keep our “vehicle” performing at peak level and prepared for the changes in the cultural terrain as we continue along the path of sanctification.
“Are we there yet?”
Not yet, but we’re going in the right direction as we pursue Jesus.