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Heavenly Minded and Earthly Good

Sister Smith, the Sunday school teacher, asked her preschool class, "How many of you would like to go to Heaven?" All the children raised their hands except Freddie. The teacher asked Freddie why he wouldn't like to go to Heaven. His reply: "I'm sorry, but I can't. I'm here with my aunt, and my mother told me to come home right after Sunday school." Almost everybody expresses a desire and expects to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to go now! You may have heard it said some Christians are so heavenly-minded they are no earthly good. Indeed, it seems some believers become not only separated but also isolated from the world. Jesus said about His disciples, "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." But in the verse immediately preceding that one He declared, "I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one." And in the same passage, which is His prayer for the apostles the night before He died on the cross, He also prayed to the Father, "Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world" (John 17:16, 15, 17-18, respectively). Our mission as disciples of Christ is clearly defined. We are not to be conformed to this world. But neither are we to withdraw from it to the point we refuse to reach out and engage and serve our world with an aim toward sharing Christ and redeeming it. We must be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, but we don't help the world or the Lord's work if we keep the salt in shakers and hide the light under baskets we call church buildings. True - we must not be so earthly-minded we are no heavenly good, but we must also avoid the opposite extreme of gathering together in holy huddles with other Christians where we study the Bible but then do nothing more than "curse the darkness" and discuss doctrine and debate "issues" but never seriously attempt to take Him who is the light of the world out where all the darkness is. Jesus was the most heavenly-minded individual who ever lived. He came down from Heaven, talked and preached about Heaven, called people to go to Heaven, and at last He died and arose and went back to Heaven. But while here, He engaged in and did a lot of earthly good (see Luke 19:10; Acts 10:38; Luke 22:27; Mark 10:45, etc.).

Study the life of Abraham and you will find he is a powerful Bible example of someone who pleased God by being heavenly-minded and doing earthly good. How did he do it? Hebrews 10: 10 says, "he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Abraham knew there was a place even better than the Promised Land of Canaan. But he also knew while he was there he had to live in tents, live by faith, and do the will of God. C. S. Lewis said, "If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the 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 one." To please God we have to be heavenly-minded and engage in doing good while here on earth.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ