It is true, many Christians focus on the end, and the Bible accomodates this. Christ speaks of storing heavenly treasures by serving the Kingdom, and
of taking your place with the Father. This element is definately in the Bible, and has a lot more focus in the New Testament than in the Old. The
Jewish scriptures, however, pay little heed to an afterlife, rarely mentioning it. Instead, they talk much of glorifying and obeying God.
However, there is more in the New Testament than just an assurance of Heaven. There is far more, though. There are lessons for life, family, marriage,
disputes, troubled times, and reconciliation. When asked what the most important commandment was, what the most important law is to follow, He didn't
say keep on keepin' on, it's going to get a lot better. He said the first and foremost is to love and honor God, and right behind that is to love
. That's present time information, not something we're to do when we die.
The reason, I believe, Christianity has been seen as a religion focused on the end isn't because that's what it's all about. Some of the greatest
Christian writings have come from those facing persecution in some form or another. Paul wrote Second Timothy shortly before he was executed, while in
prison, and it is a wonderful, encouraging Epistle. Many others from the time when Rome persecuted Christians extensively were willing to give their
lives for their faith in Christ, as 10 of the disciples did. People looking in from the outside assumed the only reason they did this was because they
knew they would go to Heaven. No!
, a Christian scholar and writer from the third century, wrote,
But go zealously on. Kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust...The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the
blood of Christians is seed...For who that contemplates it is not excited to inquire what is at the bottom of it? Who, after inquiry, does not embrace
our doctrines? And when he has embraced them, desires not to suffer?
Powerful words spoken at a time when Rome was running out of starving lions due to the abundance of food. Those are the words not of someone who
willingly suffers for the goal, but someone who suffers for the cause.