Heaven is that far off place in the sky that we all imagine in our heads, with angels, white horses, and all our best friends. We’ll all get there eventually, but for now, let’s all just forget about it and get on with our lives. Or, maybe not. Forget all of the stuff in the first sentence, too. What if wasn’t just some half-imaginary, far off kingdom in the sky? What if we actually believed it was there?
You see, we spend so much time focusing on this world, planning ahead for what we’re gonna do at this stage or after that time. To borrow from Francis Chan, I’m gonna use the famous rope illustration, because I honestly can’t find a better way to explain it.
Imagine your life’s timeline was like a rope, and it went on forever. At the very tip of it was a little two inch red part. Now, that red part is our life here on earth. The rest is eternity. So many of us just focus on that red part, thinking, “If I save up right here and work really hard here, I’ll be able to live a nice, comfortable life.” They call us Christians stupid because we sacrifice that comfort or success at the end of our little red part, but they completely forgot about the rest of the rope! In reality, we weren’t even made for this little red part. No, we were made for the rest of the rope!
“If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” – Hebrews 13:14
It is important to not focus so much on what is to come so as to forget to live our lives here how God has called us to, but today we seem to far more often have the opposite problem. As Jim Elliot said, though,“Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living.”
Back to the problem at hand. So often we tend to focus more on our security here, planning our retirement and our future safety. We look at the “radical” Christians and wonder at their stupidity, throwing away their life savings to move to some remote country. Oh, if I could just show, write, speak, or display the power of God so that you could see how wrong that idea is! This life is like a mist that vanishes at the slightest wind (James 4:14). Why do we hold on to dust so tightly? There’s a kingdom of light and life within our grasp, and we’re worried about retirement!
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” – Jim Elliot
That is why it seems so stupid to those who are deemed “radicals” that we hold on to the things of this world so desperately. Why give up what you cannot lose to get what you cannot keep? That’s not even logical. Let’s forget about all those little things in this world and fix our eyes on the rest of that infinite rope. The red doesn’t matter.