Saving the World or Eternal Salvation?

I read something this morning in the Magnificat that has really struck a cord with me,

“Saving the world does not mean making it happy; it means showing the world the meaning of its suffering and giving it a joy that “nothing can take away”…we must keep in mind that what is at stake is ultimately not solving these problems and constructing a second earthly paradise; rather, what is at stake is eternal life.”

I am not even sure where to begin writing about this but I have been thinking about it all day and discussing it with some of the missionaries.  I think I have always known that the ultimate goal of why I do anything that I do, why I serve, why I minister, why I have conversations about Jesus, why I pray for conversions, why I strive to live everyday for Christ is for the ultimate goal of eternal salvation but I think I have always thought about making this world a better place, too (you can ask anyone, I feel like trying to be a fixer sometimes). This really made me think, am I doing all this for the Kingdom or for this world that will vanish?  I don’t want these souls to be saved for the earth but for Heaven!  Heaven is the goal!  Eternal salvation with Christ, not a second paradise.   I want all to know the Peace that Christ can bring even if they only experience it in their hearts and not here on earth.  As missionaries, we often discuss suffering and offering it up for souls because we know how much joy and peace it brings to us.  We have the Peace of Christ in our hearts that maybe we don’t experience everyday on earth but KNOW that we will have in Heaven.  We live in Hope for that Peace of Paradise which allows us to be joyful in this broken world and work to bring others into that peace. We know peace on earth is not the end all be all.  I imagine though that  if every heart was convicted of the knowledge of Christ and eternal salvation, peace on earth would come, too.

I thought a lot about my brother-in-law, Joe, as I meditated upon this statement.  Joe is in the marines and is currently deployed.  He is a very strong Christian and certainly knows Christ’s Peace in his heart. He strives to live his life towards his eternal salvation each and every single day.  Right now he is living in a room with four other men, two of whom are proclaimed atheist.  What is the bigger battle right now?  The fight for peace on earth or the fight for these men’s souls?  Joe is very committed to living a Christian lifestyle even enduring the verbal attacks from his roommates.  I desire peace on earth, for war to end, for all to live in peace, but I desire for that peace to come because all men are convicted that Christ is their salvation and peace is in their heart.

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