“You are so heavenly minded, you are no earthly good.” I first came across that phrase early in my ministry. I was teaching a class as pastor of Drummond Community Church. I used an illustration of a certain type of people I frequently came into contact with while I worked at the local Christian book store. These people would come into the store, walk straight to the prophecy section, pick a book out and purchase it without glancing at anything else. All they read, all they thought of and all they discussed was prophecy. And as I got to know some of them, I discovered that many of them could not find a church that met their standards and they were among the most critical and argumentative Christians I knew. And so, in my class in Drummond, when one of the members of the class piped up with the suggestion that these people were so heavenly minded that they were no earthly good, I agreed.
The problem is, Christians are supposed to be heavenly minded. Not necessarily in the way the prophecy nuts were. But in a way that recognizes that this world is not our true home. It is not our final destination. We need to realize that the only one who is pleased when we do not regularly dwell on the reality of our heavenly home is Satan, who would like to see our understanding and anticipation of that place diminish, rather than grow.
So how can a Christian be correctly heavenly minded and still be earthly good? That is a much needed question, because I suspect most Christians err the other way – they we are so earthly minded we are no heavenly or earthly good. As C. S. Lewis once said, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”
In his book, In Light of Eternity, author Randy Alcorn gives us some suggestions about how to cultivate our sense of the eternal.
We should dwell on the Scriptures that talk about heaven. Admittedly, there is much we do not know about what heaven will be like. It is easy to enter into speculation about heaven, which while fun, is still only speculation. But Scripture does give us much to think about regarding our eternal home. We know it will be place prepared for us. (John 14:1-2) We know Jesus, our Savior, will one day return to take us to where he is. (John 14:3) We know it will be a place of resurrection, transformation and glorification. (Phil. 3:20-21, 1 Cor. 15:50-57, 1 Thess. 4:13-18) And we know it will be a place where we will be united eternally with God and be freed from all the things that trouble us here on earth. (Rev. 21:2-4) Meditate regularly on what Scripture says about heaven.
We should also talk about heaven. Talk about it with our spouses, our parents and our kids. Discuss it with our friends. Teach about it. Preach about it. Make its glories clear – after all, it is our ultimate destination. As I think back to discussions in our house, we have, to our detriment, spent much more time discussing vacations then heaven. We spend hours planning and discussing a trip to a place where we will spend at most a little more than a week, but we don't talk near enough about our ultimate destination, our eternal, heavenly home.
Finally, we should invest in heavenly things. Our lives are too often defined by the treasures we accumulate down here. God wants us to store up treasures, but he wants us to store them up in the right place. A few quotes are in order here. Thomas a Kempis once wrote, “Let temporal things serve your use, but the eternal be the object of your desire.” Or A. W. Tozer, who said, “Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth. Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality.” Do you want a heart for God? Put your treasures where God is at work. Invest in eternal things with them. After all, Jesus words are still true – for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matt. 6:21, NIV)
Our hearts should be tuned to heaven. Let's make sure that we are so heavenly minded that the impact of our life right here and right now will last for eternity.