We are not here by accident. Even though followers of Jesus are heavenly-minded, God does not intend for us to bide our time on this earth until something better—the afterlife—comes along.
Our belief in heaven also means that God has placed us in this world to do something significant. Followers of Jesus believe that God wants to do something earth shaking with our lives.
When God created the earth, it was good. Our sin has cracked it. Turned it upside down. God is not the kind who walks off and leaves what he started. So, instead of abandoning his creation, God sets about redeeming it.
His work of redemption begins in the Cross of Jesus Christ. He will complete that work when Christ comes again to judge the living and the dead and to make a new heaven and a new earth.
In the meantime, here we are. We live in a fractured, upside down world. And God has something for us to do. He wants to shake things up on this earth, and he means to work through his Son’s followers. We can be God’s earth-shaking instruments in two ways.
First, simply acting in obedience to God’s will is earth shaking. It shapes the world from a heavenly direction.
Of course, Jesus himself instructs us to serve the poor and to make disciples. But I mean more than this. When we obey God’s direction in the routine things of our daily lives it is as if heaven is infiltrating earth.
Heroic, saintly acts provide encouragement and examples for believers. But God nudges the earth in a heavenly direction when we obediently change a baby’s diapers, do small kindnesses for a neighbor, smile at the clerk at the deli counter, and do countless other seemingly small things
Our prayers also shake the earth. Jesus promised that he would answer the prayers of the faithful. He didn’t mean by this that God would be our heavenly vending machine or our celestial butler. Instead, our prayers are like conduits through which the power of God flows.
The questions this poses:
How do we discern what God wants us to do?
How can we say that prayer really works?
For now, I’ll just leave you with the questions and shamelessly plug a book I’m working on. It’s tentatively entitled Heaven Matters.
(The image above is Carl Heinrich Bloch’s The Resurrection at this link.)