Here is a sobering truth: if you are a Christian, this earth is not your permanent home. We are pilgrims. We can join the ranks of the men and women of faith in Hebrews 11, who “acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth” (v. 13) and who “desired a better country, that is, a heavenly one” (v. 14). “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city” (v. 14). There are many things we can look forward to: a milestone birthday, an anticipated vacation, or a long-awaited retirement. But, at best, these are merely earthly blessings, and though we can be grateful for them, there is something better.
I feel my grip on this earthly life tightening. Reminders from others, including fellow bloggers, about the dwelling place that Jesus is preparing for us in heaven have served to loosen that grip. In my previous post, Things Above, I shared a quote by C.S. Lewis that is worth mentioning again, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. . . . It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (Mere Christianity, chapter 10). God knows the number of my days here, and I can make the most of that time by keeping my eyes fixed on the hope to come.
This is my “heavenward” thought for today: Jesus. John Piper writes in his book, God is the Gospel, “The critical question for our generation—and for every generation— is this: If you could have heaven, with no sickness, and with all the friends you ever had on earth, and all the food you ever liked, and all the leisure activities you ever enjoyed, and all the natural beauties you ever saw, all the physical pleasures you ever tasted, and no human conflict or any natural disasters, could you be satisfied with heaven, if Christ were not there?” (p. 15). Surely, we can’t deny the excitement we have in fully experiencing the benefits of heaven, but we must start with the main thing. Let us remember, heaven is not heaven without Jesus Christ.
I attended a pastor’s funeral earlier this year. Everyone, who knew him, agreed that his sole purpose in life was to exalt the name of Christ. It was also no secret that this beloved pastor loved to quote other godly preachers, who also made it their aim to preach Christ. He would always tell his congregation that his favorite preachers are all dead. During the memorial service, his son shared, “You’re probably picturing dad talking with Jonathan Edwards and Spurgeon, just to name two. But if you’re picturing that, then you’d be wrong. My dad is worshipping at the feet of the One he has been longing to see.”
Let us spend our days here, thinking deeply of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and prepare ourselves for an eternity of worshipping the One who died for our sins.
I hope to post about this regularly, at least once a week. How I need to dwell more on the things above and meditating on the sure hope of our permanent home with Jesus! Will you join me?