Most of us have probably heard this phrase (or something very similar): “Too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.” This seems to be a phrase used to describe people who are so focused on heaven that they neglect their responsibilities in this world. Hopefully it goes without saying that it is decidedly unbiblical to neglect our responsibilities here on earth. However, what troubles me more about this whole issue is that the above phrase seems to imply that we as Christians should be careful not be too mindful of heaven. As I look at my own life, and the lives of fellow Christians I really do not think that we need to be encouraged to be less heavenly minded in our Christian lives. I think we are far more prone to neglect thinking about eternity and living in light of it. Paul Tripp, in his book Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It, says that we often function as “eternity amnesiacs” (p. 12). While we know heaven exists and are vaguely comforted by this fact, we really don’t dwell on it like we should.
I have been working on preparing a short sermon series on Heaven, and this has forced me to ask, “Does the Bible encourage us to be less heavenly minded so that we might not become less good here on earth?” It probably comes as no surprise that we find precisely the opposite message in the Bible. The Bible seems to continuously exhort Christians to be more heavenly minded, not less. Look at passages like 2 Cor. 4.17-18, Col. 3.1-4, and 1 Pet. 1.13. All of these passages tell us to think on things above, and to be ever-mindful of heavenly realities. In fact, these passages seem to indicate that the more heavenly minded we become, the more equipped we are to live righteously here on the earth. The passages listed above show that we can face the realities of suffering and trials, and live more righteous and godly lives the more aware we are of heavenly realities and of our eternal destinies as Christians. It seems that, in the Bible’s view of things, if we are no earthly good, the problem is probably that we are not heavenly minded enough!
Of course we still have to ask ourselves what it means to be heavenly minded, and what that looks like. We will see some of this in the upcoming sermon series. But I don’t believe that we as Christians need to be challenged to be less mindful of heaven, and of God’s Kingdom; we need to be more mindful of these things. And as we are more mindful of these realities, we will love our neighbors better, obey God more consistently, and face trials and tribulations with faith and perseverance. In short, we will be of immense earthly good.
Pastor Nathan Hogan