It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you, and I appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that should remain, so that the Father might grant you whatever you ask in my Name. (John 15:16)
“I hope you are right.” The Chinese engineer across the table was sceptical about my claims.
Our delegation had come halfway around the world to sell our construction equipment in China, which had only recently opened up to Western businesses. We were well known at home as producing a product that lasted a long time, a century in some cases. The Chinese naturally wanted to know how long the various components would last, and we told them they would last for many years.
That’s the way it is with the world. They look at Christians with scepticism. Why be “religious,” they say, when you can do good and not go to church? Why do we need all of these rules anyway? And we really don’t get past the grave, do we?
Yes, we really do. We’re Christians first and foremost because we want to spend eternity with God, and then take other with us. That’s fruit that lasts far beyond any other “good works” we find in this finite life.
The French philosophers Antoine Arnauld and Pierre Nicole put it this way:
Only infinite things, such as eternity and salvation, cannot be equalled by any temporal advantage: and as such one cannot compare them with the things of this world. This is why the least degree of means to be saved is worth more than all of the goods of this world put together; and the least peril of being lost is more considerable than all of the temporal evils considered only as evils…
Those that come to this conclusion, and who follow them in the conduct of their life, are prudent and wise, whether they be little correct in all of the reasonings concerning matters of science; and those who do not, whether they be correct in all of the rest…make a bad usage of Logic, of reason, and of life.