Quiet Time, Thinking Biblically

No Better Place on Earth

“If I discover within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C.S. Lewis

Our pastor has been doing a series titled “Heaven Makes a Comeback“. I have so enjoyed these messages, as this is a topic that I have not studied extensively. Aside from maybe a few messages or funerals, many Christians seem to steer away from the topic of Heaven. Maybe we don’t know enough about it to look forward to it. Maybe we are afraid of it. Maybe we are too satisfied here. As a result of this series, I have begun reading John MacArthur’s book The Glory of Heaven. In the introduction, he addresses this very problem.

“Frankly, most North American Christians have things so good right here in this world that they don’t really know what it is to long for heaven. God has blessed us with an abundance of earthly comforts – more than any prior generation in history. There is a danger that we become so comfortable in this life that we forget we are but strangers and pilgrims in this world…. Christians in less affluent and less comfortable cultures than ours tend to think more about heaven, because it promises things so different from what they have known in this world.”

Each week, our pastor (Tom Givens) is answering questions that he has received on the topic of heaven. This week he answered several questions, but 2 of them, and more specifically his answers to them, stood out to me.

The first question addressed the idea of being so heavenly-minded that one is of no earthly good. And, was it possible, as Christians, to be too heavenly-minded. His answer was (this is from my notes, so it may not be word-for-word, but I think I managed to get the basic idea):

“True Christianity is focused firmly on our future hope. The only way to be any earthly good is to be more heavenly-minded, not less. If you are looking for a religion that is going to pay off big in the here and now, keep on looking; Christianity is not the one.”

I appreciated his direct and honest answer. MacArthur answers the question in a similar way saying, “Those who live with this heavenly perspective discover abundant life as God intended it here on earth.”

The second question asked whether or not we will know family members (children, parents, spouses) in Heaven. Pastor Tom’s answer was, again, direct and honest, but full of hope. He pointed out that the most important reason for going to Heaven is the incredible love relationship that we have with Christ. The most important person in Heaven is Jesus! MacArthur points out that, “Heaven is His realm. He has gone there to prepare a place for us to live with Him forever. That truth is waht makes heaven so precious for the Christian.” While Heaven was never intended to be a “family reunion” of sorts, Pastor Tom did point to several Scripture that seem to indicate that, while the relationship may not be the same, we may be recognized. Many people recognized Jesus after His resurrection (John 20:16, 20; John 21:12; 1 Corinthians 15:47).

I was listening to a song this morning, by Steven Curtis Chapman (another of my favorite musicians), called “No Better Place on Earth,” which seems to echo the message of yesterday’s sermon. The chorus of the song says “there’s no better place on earth than the road that leads to heaven, no other place I’d rather be.” I like how Dr. MacArthur sums up the perspective that we should have,

“The Christian life is meant to be like Heaven on earth. Believers regularly taste the sweetness of the same Heaven to which someday we will go to dwell forever. Praising and loving God with all your being, adoring and obeying Christ, pursuing holiness, cherishing fellowship with other saints – those are the elements of heavenly life we can begin to taste in this world. Those same pursuits and privileges will occupy us forever, but we can begin to practice them even now.”

There truly is “No Better Place on Earth” than the road that leads to heaven!