You've probably heard the old adage, "Don't be so heavenly-minded that you are no earthly good."
Although it's true that Christ followers should not despise the world and just sit around waiting for Christ to come back, I do believe the more heavenly-minded we are the more effective will be on earth. The more we focus on eternity, the greater the impact we will have on earth.
A few years back a met a remarkable woman named Katie when I lived in the inner city of Chicago.
Katie had a tough life. As a young girl she moved to Chicago with her mother, but sadly, got caught up in a viscous cycle of drugs and prostitution.
After her daughter was born, Katie had a remarkable encounter with Christ. Her life changed. She got out of prostitution and off of drugs.
When I met her, she was the rock of her family, which included her husband, daughter, three grandchildren, and an adopted daughter from the Philippines.
Each week, my wife and I led a Bible Study in Katie's apartment. Although far from perfect, she had a passion for Jesus and would always talk about the hope of heaven.
I learned a lot from Katie, but probably the most important lesson she taught me was keeping an eternal perspective.
Here are a few reasons why heavenly-mindedness is important:
1. It helps us make sense of suffering
Paul says, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:18). Did you hear that? Having an eternal perspective far outweighs our troubles on earth.
Why? Because we know we have something to look forward to… we know this life is not all there is.
A few weeks ago, my good friend, Richard, who is from Syria, came over. Richard comes from a Muslim background but is very open to Jesus. He shared with me a major painful event he went through a number of years ago. This led me to share about how Jesus is referred to as the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53), and understands our pain because He took it upon Himself.
Richard listened intently as I spoke about how having hope in Jesus can help us make sense of the suffering we go through.
2. It helps us use the time we've been given effectively
In 1 Corinthians 15, Paul’s famous passage on the resurrection of Christ and our future resurrection, he ends on a very interesting note. “Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know your labor in the Lord is not in vain” (15:58).
Paul makes it clear that as we wait for Christ to come back, we are to labor for the Kingdom. We are not to sit on our hands and waste time. We are to be busy with the work of eternity.
Paul tells us three main things:
- Stand firm
- Be immovable
- Give ourselves to Kingdom work
3. It helps us spread the gospel with urgency
My friend Katie from Chicago had an incredible gift of evangelism. She would always say, "Pastor Dave, we need to pray for Richie to come to our Bible study because he's in a gang."
In fact, one teenage girl, whom Katie knew and witnessed to, started coming to the Bible Study. After a few months, she came to Christ and left her life of “gang banging.”
Sadly, Katie died a few years ago after struggling with severe diabetes. I was asked to speak at the funeral, a service filled with gang bangers and teenagers Katie had reached out to for years. She had touched so many lives.
Although Katie’s mind was on eternal things, her feet were firmly planted on the earth, beautifully adorned with the gospel.
Question: How does having an eternal perspective help you live for Christ on the earth?
Dave Arnold is a pastor, author, and speaker. He and his family live in Dearborn, Michigan, where they seek to reach immigrants and refugees from the Middle East with the gospel. You can connect with Dave on his website at DaveArnoldSpeaks.com, and download his free book, Made To Soar, by joining his email list.