Christian, do you look forward to Eternity? Really, do you look forward to it?
I worry that many Christians have Huckleberry Finn’s attitude about the whole thing. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the main character, Huck Finn, has a hard time behaving. His teacher, Miss Watson, made sure to warn him that good boys who do their school work get to go to Heaven while the boys who didn’t do their homework went to the “bad place” (Which isn’t how it works by the way.)
Here’s how Huck Finn tells the story:
“Now she had got started, and she went on and told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever and ever. So I didn’t think much of it. But I never said so. I asked her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and me to be together.”
When Huck heard about Heaven he “didn’t think much of it”. How many Christians would say the same?
I spent much of my life not looking forward to Heaven. Maybe you have too. But the truth is, if you’re a Christian who is not excited about eternity then you don’t really understand what the Bible says about it.
Revelation 21:1-3 says this,
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.”
Did you notice the two words there in the middle, coming down? These two words changed my understanding of Heaven when I first noticed them around 10 years ago. Really, it changed how I view Christianity. Heaven is coming down. Ultimately, we’re not going to Heaven, it’s coming to us. Heaven is coming to earth. And there is a lot to look forward to.
We get glimpses of the New Earth when we stand at the top of the Smoky Mountains or at the edge of the Grand Canyon. We get glimpses when we eat a great meal or spend a day of fun with a friend. The wonderful gifts of this earth are appetizers before the feast of Heaven. And there’s no way that feast can be adequately described in a 800-word blog post.
To even get a glimpse of the wonders of the New Earth we have to take the appetizers of earth and amplify them a million times. Revelation 21 continues like this,
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”
Sin has distorted this world that God made and called “good” but all things will be made new. The sin will be removed, the evil parts of this world will be gone, and the earth will be renewed.
There’s a lot the Bible doesn’t say about eternity. But it tells us enough that we should be excited.
But do you know the best part of the whole thing? Let’s look back to Revelation 21:3,
“Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them.”
God himself will be there. His home will be among us. We will spend eternity with Him!
At this point, you may be asking: “Jake, did you misunderstand your assignment? This is supposed to be a blog post about generosity. What does generosity have to do with eternity?”
Well, Concerned Reader… My answer to your well-timed question would be “Everything!” Generosity has everything to do with eternity.
If this is all there is then why would we be generous? We can follow the example of the Rich man in Jesus’ parable who stored up all of his stuff and said to himself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”
But if our hope is eternal, if we look forward to eternity where all of the sad things will come untrue and everything will be made right, then we are freed to be generous now! The rich man in Jesus’ parable is called the “Rich Fool!” Why? Because he didn’t view his stuff through an eternal perspective.
Lord, help us not to be like that and help us to be generous in light of eternity!