“In order to evangelize today, we must address the human condition at its point of felt need– conscience, guilt, dealing with others, finding a purpose for staying alive. Talking about the abundant life or life everlasting often just won’t do it.” (Charles Colson)
The last of the autumn leaves are falling to the ground outside my window. Burnt orange and caramel mixed in with a fiery red, paint a portrait of a life coming to an end. No longer green and healthy, the cool fall air is changing the leaves still barely clinging to the red maple branches planted ten years ago. The wind is blowing fiercely now. The grass below is providing a collecting place for falling leaves while the once proud maple bursting with color and life is beginning to expose it dark, dreary look for the winter. Seasons change and life goes on.
I wish I could say the same for us.
Yes, seasons change as the years go by — from adolescence to young adult, from middle-aged to retirement. And life does still go on. But that is from an earthly perspective. Compared to eternity, our life is but a breath of mist that fades quickly in the cool air. Then, why do we focus so much on that one breath? Why do we choose to be distracted by the worries and the pleasures of life rather than engaging ourselves in the eternal? We are a society that is defined by the human condition of unmet needs – finding answers in the temporary as a means to ease our soul that continues to search for a deeper, universal meaning that rises above our existence.
Confronting felt needs seems to be the method of choice in conversing about the eternal. They must be treated as building blocks to get to the eternal questions of life. I often find that when beginning a discussion about death, souls, salvation and forgiveness, everyone has contrasting opinions for the sake of having one. But do their opinions that are based on human reason or the pop philosophies of celebrities like Oprah, meet felt needs? Unlikely. All we have to do is look around us and see people who walk dazed, confused, and harried — following the voice of culture that idolizes self and the unmet needs that flee and fall like the autumn leaves outside my window. When the last leaf falls, it’s over. There is no more life. No more potential solutions. Just judgment that exposes the soul for what it is – a light snuffed out in a temporary body of decay. A light never to go on again. A soul embraced by eternal darkness.
There is more to life than staying alive. There is a purpose. There is a means to the end. A soul that acknowledges its condition, its need for an eternal solution, and the way, truth and life of a Risen Savior that is received by faith alone, is a soul that is filled with a light that will never be extinguished. By outward appearance, the leaves change color and wrinkled, and so will we. But the light basks in the promise that a new life will occur when this season on earth is through.
Now that’s a life worth living.