Too Heavenly Minded?
Heavenly Minds Produce Earthly Good
The phrase: "being too heavenly minded to be any earthly good" is well known. When you think of this, pictures come to mind of people being cloistered in monasteries and keeping totally separate from the world. The truth is, Scripture speaks of the believer as one day dwelling on a New Heaven and a New Earth where the sins and evils of this earth will be no more. It is a beautiful picture of what has been made possible by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. But this heavenly truth is always used in Scripture to motivate the believer to serve God by serving people on this earth in the here and now. A truly heavenly minded person is one who makes a major difference in this world as well.
I. Faith In Action
Paul tells us in Colossians 3:2-4
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."
If that is all he said, then it would seem that people would have a point in talking about being heavenly minded. However, Paul later tells the Colossian believers just what being heavenly minded means. It includes many practical things that must take place on this earth. For example he says:
"Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called one body. And be thankful" (3:12-15).
As we can see, a person who truly thinks of heaven will live differently in the here and now. In this same book Paul begins a discussion of how husbands and wives, fathers and children and slaves and masters (i.e. employees and employers), should act toward one another because of their heavenly citizenship. (3:18-4:1). True faith always produces actions, or as James put it: "Faith without works is dead." (James 2:14-26).
II. Heavenly Minded Individuals
From the very beginning, starting with Paul and the rest of the Apostles of our Lord, It has been the people who thought most of heaven that have turned the world upside down for the better (Acts 17:6). Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ himself told his followers that the two greatest commandments in the law were to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:36-40).
And James, the Lord's brother, talked about true religion when he told us:
"Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: To visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world" (James 1:27).
Heeding these and other Scriptures, we have many Christian organizations that help out their neighbors who are poor, sick, widowed and orphaned. Organizations like Mother Theresa's Little Sisters of the Poor, Christian Children's Fund, St. Jude's Hospital, Christian Aid USA and Christian Aid Canada, Habitat for Humanity the YMCA and the Salvation Army, just to name a few.
Heavenly minded people have founded schools and hospitals and they've given their lives as missionaries in places that many people wouldn't dream of going to visit, let alone making their homes there.
And we tend to forget that it was Christians who helped end slavery in England and America. Anyone who knows the story of William Wilberforce knows that it was his Christian faith that made him dedicate most of his life to see that the wicked slave trade ended in Britain.
It was also a Christian world-view that lead to modern science. The Christian belief in a God of order whose handy-work could be traced out lead to the rise of the great discoveries and breakthroughs of our time.
And we owe the founding of the United States of America and all of the freedoms that each of us who live here enjoy largely to a bunch of people who came here for religious freedom and who believed that we are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights that no monarch can take away from us.
The interesting thing is that this only scratches the surface of how heavenly minded individuals have changed the course of this world and given us lives in the 20th and 21st centuries that most people in history could never have dreamed about.
John Lennon, before he died, wrote the song "Imagine". Though it had a beautiful melody, the lyrics were purely silly. He wrote of a world where he could imagine that there was no heaven and no hell and above us only sky. He dreamed of a world where there were no countries and nothing to live or die for. And no religion too! And the people would be living for today.
I could tell Mr. Lennon what kind of a world that he was imagining. It would be a world where there was purely selfishness and evil. It would be one where everyone would be out for themselves and wouldn't care for their fellow man. Without the God of the Bible, this world would soon destroy itself.
If truth be told, today we still have far too many people who are so earthly minded that they are of no heavenly good. It is my prayer that our world will see more and more people with great thoughts of heaven and the world to come. For we need them to lead us to change this modern age to once again do great things in the name of God. May we all become more and more heavenly minded!!