Check your heaven

You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway. (John 20:29)

There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from midtown and how late is it open? – Woody Allen

The gospel is all about caring for the real human needs of people, not just about getting them into heaven.

Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well”—but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all—it is dead and useless. (James 2:17)

Jesus Christ brought the kingdom of heaven to earth, but He didn’t just touch down for a momentary appearance. Sometimes we forget He carried on a ministry here for three years. He connected with and did something about the suffering needs of the sick, dying, and mentally ill. Faith in action brings two worlds together.

The reality of heaven doesn’t make earth less real or less important. If our longing for heaven and focus on eternity is disengaging us from earth, we should probably check and see if we have the right heaven. If we have the right heaven, the opposite should happen. The more committed we are to heaven (the more we get an eternal perspective on life) the more deeply we will be committed to this life and those around us. Heaven brings meaning to earth, not an escape. It brings dignity to every human being, a reason for our existence and a desire to want to connect everyone to God.

When Jesus came, one of the first things He did was announce that the kingdom of heaven had come. This is it. Heaven is here. Let’s live in such a way as to answer Mr. Allen’s question with an unseen world that is right around the corner, and open all night.

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4 Responses to Check your heaven

  1. Don Flewelling says:

    Ah, the old problem of being “so heavenly-minded that you are no earthly good!”
    I like how you’ve elaborated in your post above.
    It also brings to mind situations where I’ve encountered depressed Christians who desire the Christian form of suicide: they “wished for Jesus to return soon” so they wouldn’t have to face their problems (and they would be in Heaven).
    If they would focus on others as James (and Jesus) recommended, they would understand the heart of our Lord… and get a slice of Heaven as well!
    As Captain Picard put it so succinctly, “Engage!”.

  2. Once again, John Fischer has a song from “Dark Horse” that I think applies to this post. See if you don’t agree:

    Only a Few
    Words and Music by John Fischer

    Many people say today
    They’ve been born again
    Many people call Him Lord
    And say He is their friend
    Thousands watch the preachers smiling
    On their TV screens
    But when I hear the words of Jesus
    I wonder what it means

    Only a few
    Enter the small gate
    Only a few
    Walk in the narrow way
    Only a few
    Taking the long road to life
    Only a few
    Hearing the savior
    Only a few
    Doing His favor
    Only a few
    Changing the darkness to light

    Many thought when Christ was here
    They were the holy ones
    Many said they followed God
    But passed right by His Son
    Is it any different now
    Are we so self-assured
    Do we come to Him for mercy
    And hunger for His word

    Only a few
    Enter the small gate
    Only a few
    Walk in the narrow way
    Only a few
    Taking the long road to life
    Only a few
    Hearing the savior
    Only a few
    Doing His favor
    Only a few
    Changing the darkness to light

    Am I trying to be self-righteous
    Am I trying to be cool
    Am I trying to scare you into
    Thinking you’re some kind of fool
    If He said these words to you
    He’s saying the same to me
    I think we’d better all consider
    What it has to be

    Only a few
    Enter the small gate
    Only a few
    Walk in the narrow way
    Only a few
    Taking the long road to life
    Only a few
    Hearing the savior
    Only a few
    Doing His favor
    Only a few
    Changing the darkness to light

  3. Greg says:

    For a long time I had the idea that donating to causes that save souls was more needed than supporting causes meet desperate physical needs like starving children. As time has gone on as a parent, I have realized this is only true when it’s someone else’s children who are starving. Perhaps God has so closely connected loving God with loving our neighbor so that loving God doesn’t become too abstract.

    • Tim Morris says:

      I like what Greg added. I used to think the same way. If someone didn’t get “saved” it was not a successful ministry. I don’t even ask who got saved anymore but who got loved, now that’s something I’m interested in.
      John Wesley was asked once after a meeting who many got saved. He responded, we’ll see.
      I really like the comment, (Heaven) brings dignity to every human being, a reason for our existence and a desire to want to connect everyone to God.

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