What's the point of thinking about heaven?
September 01, 2010 - Do you think about heaven much? You might say, "You've got to be kidding! My life is crammed right now. I just lost my job. The kids are sick. I don't have time to think about heaven." It's easy to imagine, "What good is it to think about heaven?" After all, we've heard that ditty, "He's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good."
This summer I've been giving a six-week sermon series on Heaven. I have learned so much! Many people have been telling me, "I did not know that about Heaven! This is so exciting!"
In this short article, let me just give you two reasons why we need to think about heaven. First, we need to think more clearly about our lives. Imagine going on a trip and not knowing anything about your destination. "Hey, where are you going? Yellowstone Park?
Cool! Where's that at?" "Mmm, I'm not sure." "Well how do you get there?" "I don't know." "Well what's it like?" "I don't know. I hear it's really nice."
You'd never do that, would you? You would Google it and MapQuest it. You'd want to know how to get there and what it's going to be like when you get there. Is it going to be hot or cold?
What kind of clothes do you take? You want to prepare for it!
Did you know that every day, worldwide, 3 people die every second, 180 every minute, and almost 11,000 every hour. So if the Bible is right about what happens to us after death, it means that more than 250,000 people every day go either to Heaven or Hell.
We need to think clearly about where we're going. Which leads to the second reason why we need to think about heaven: It empowers us to live this life better. There's a cemetery in Indiana that has a tombstone that's over 100 years old, and it has an epitaph written on it that says:
Pause, stranger, when you pass me by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be.
So prepare for death and follow me.
An unknown passerby scratched additional words on it.
To follow you I'm not content,
Until I know which way you went.
When we really think about the fact that we're going to Heaven or Hell, it will change how we live today! When we realize how incredibly beautiful and satisfying the New Heavens and the New Earth will be, and how we're going to see our believing loved ones, and how we're going to have new resurrection bodies and live on a new resurrected earth –it will give us fresh hope and faith and power to live this life well!
So maybe you're really discouraged today. Life is hard. You've got all kinds of problems. If you're a Christ-follower, do you realize that you have a rich inheritance? One day, money will be no problem. Sickness will not happen. Sadness and frustration will be no more. You will have a new resurrected body and live on a new earth. Your deepest desires and needs will be met.
I'm finding that the more I learn about Heaven, the better I want to live this life today.
The Rev. Greg Henneman is pastor of Clarkston Community Church.