The World At Present, Not To Come

Why do we do good? There are many answers to this question. Some would say, “well, if I do good then good will come to me” while others would say, “if I don’t do good then when I get caught, I’ll be in trouble.” But though both are good reasons to do good, they are not the proper reason to do good.

So often what we do is done with the hopes that we might be rewarded. And so it is when it comes to religious matters. The greatest focus, whether one recognizes it or not, is salvation and going to heaven. Sadly, religion is full of ceremonial deeds that are often included in the lists of what is good. But is that what delights the Creator? Is that truly what He desires of us? The answer is no.

Religious expressions tend to make us feel we have done something that draws us closer to God. Whether it be prayer, praise, sacrifice, faith, etc., they are but religious actions that have little worth. Why? Because they are either sincere or, as is often the case, an external self-righteous act. Though they are good things when they are genuine, and they build us up, God Himself does not need these things to feel any sense of self-worth or gratification. God is eternal and spirit. He cannot be considered in the light of the human experience.

God is good. He does not do good deeds but rather good emanates from Him just as rays from the Sun. This, though, is not so with us. Though we have the potential to do good, we are also prone to do wrong, of which God cannot.

 So, back to the title “The World at Present, Not To Come.” Why do I say this? Because the Almighty never says we are to focus on anything other than this life. He placed us here to tend and care for the earth, to be fruitful and multiply, to rest in awe of His majesty each Shabbat, and to do good. We do good because that is what we were created to do. We were made in His image and likeness, thus, we are to be like Him, as Jesus said, “ Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

This being said, we must recognize that the world is broken and becoming more and more empty of what is truly good and being filled with what is not. We should heed the words of God who said “I have called You for a righteous purpose, and I will hold You by Your hand. I will keep You and appoint You to be a covenant for the people and a light to the nations, in order to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.”[1] What then is this light? We are told, “Your word YHWH is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path.” The way of light is the instructions given by the Most High. They define what is good and bad, not the philosophy of men. It is the way of YHWH that is right and good.

We are not created to go to heaven nor is going to heaven the goal. The goal is to focus on this world, to do those things God has instructed us are good which is light. Light does not speak, nor does it need too. It is seen and opens the eyes of others to see. The wise speak what is necessary, not to convince, but to spread light. It is doing that is what we must do. This world needs those who are bearers of that light which leads them upon the right path to fill the world with good. We are called to heal the sick, give sight to the blind, and make the lame walk, care for the orphans and widows, love the stranger, and love our brothers and sisters. In all of this we fulfill “love YHWH your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your possessions.” We must not set our sights upon what is in God’s judgement but rather upon today. It the world of the present that must be filled with the light of God’s goodness.

[1] Isaiah 42:16-17

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