When Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth, it’s not just because wealth might be lost; it’s because wealth will always be lost. Either it leaves us while we live, or we leave it when we die. No exceptions… Realizing its value is temporary should radically affect our investment strategy… According to Jesus, storing up earthly treasures isn’t simply wrong. It’s just plain stupid.
When you leave this world, will you be known as one who accumulated treasures on earth that you couldn’t keep? Or will you be recognized as one who invested treasures in heaven that you couldn’t lose?
You can’t take it with you – but you can send it on ahead.
Many Christians dread the thought of leaving this world. Why? Because so many have stored up their treasures on earth, not in heaven. Each day brings us closer to death. If your treasures are on earth, that means each day brings you closer to losing your treasures.
He who lays up treasures on earth spends his life backing away from his treasures. To him, death is loss. He who lays up treasures in heaven looks forward to eternity; he’s moving daily toward his treasures. To him, death is gain. He who spends his life moving toward his treasures has reason to rejoice. Are you despairing or rejoicing?
Why are not our hearts continually set on heaven? Why dwell we not there in constant contemplation?… Bend thy soul to study eternity, busy thyself about the life to come, habituate thyself to such contemplations, and let not those thoughts be seldom and cursory, but bathe thyself in heaven’s delights.
A heavenly mind is a joyful mind; this is the nearest and truest way to live a life of comfort, and without this you must need be uncomfortable. Can a man be at a fire and not be warm; or in the sunshine and not have light? Can your heart be in heaven, and not have comfort? [On the other hand,] what could make such frozen, uncomfortable Christians but living so far as they do from heaven?… O Christian, get above. Believe it, that region is warmer than this below.
The glory of the star, the glory of the sun – we must not lose either in the other. We must not be so full of the hope of heaven that we cannot do our work on the earth; we must not be so lost in the work of the earth that we shall not be inspired by the hope of heaven.
A man cannot look up to heaven and look down upon the earth at the same time.
Don’t think such heavenly mindedness makes us pilgrims no earthly good. Don’t pooh-pooh it as looking at the world through pie-in-the-sky, rose-colored glasses. Sojourners who think the most of the next world are usually those who are doing the highest good in this one. It is the person whose mind is only on earthly things who, when it comes to earth, does little good.
When a Christian realizes his citizenship is in heaven, he begins acting as a responsible citizen of earth.
Lord, grant that from hence I may learn to withdraw thoughts, affections, desires, and expectations entirely from the world, and may fix them upon the heavenly state, where there is fullness of joy; where reigns heavenly, sweet, calm, and delightful love without alloy; where there are continually the dearest expressions of this love; where there is the enjoyment of this love without ever parting; and where those persons, who appear so lovely in this world, will be inexpressibly more lovely, and full of love to us. How sweetly will those, who thus mutually love, join together in singing the praises of God and the Lamb. How full will it fill us with joy, to think that this enjoyment, these sweet exercises, will never cease or come to an end, but will last to all eternity.
Heaven is not here, it’s There. If we were given all we wanted here, our hearts would settle for this world rather than the next. God is forever luring us up and away from this one, wooing us to Himself and His still invisible Kingdom, where we will certainly find what we so keenly long for.
Unless there is within us, that which is above us, we will soon yield to what is around us.
Tragically, many Christians spend precious little time thinking about their eternal home. Instead, they work themselves into oblivion building temporary homes and hideaways.
It ought to be the business of every day to prepare for our last day.
A life once spent is irrevocable. It will remain to be contemplated through eternity… The same may be said of each day. When it is once past, it is gone forever. All the marks which we put upon it, it will exhibit forever… Each day will not only be a witness of our conduct, but will affect our everlasting destiny… How shall we then wish to see each day marked with usefulness! It is too late to mend the days that are past. The future is in our power. Let us, then, each morning, resolve to send the day into eternity in such a garb as we shall wish it to wear forever. And at night let us reflect that one more day is irrevocably gone, indelibly marked.
There is a way of ordering our mental life on more than one level at once. On one level we can be thinking, discussing, seeing, calculating, meeting all the demands of external affairs. But deep within, behind the scenes, at a profounder level, we may also be in prayer and adoration, song and worship, and a gentle receptiveness to divine breathings.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
Has this world been so kind to you that you should leave it with regret? There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others do the same.
The Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have begun thinking less of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you get earth thrown in; aim at earth and you get neither.
If we really think that home is elsewhere and that this life is a “wandering to find home,” why should we not look forward to the arrival?
Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you will get neither.
A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.
I would not give one moment of heaven for all the joy and riches of the world, even if it lasted for thousands and thousands of years.
Because the church doesn’t really have heaven on its mind, it tends to be self-indulgent, self-centered, weak, and materialistic. Our present comforts consume too much of our thoughts, and if we’re not careful, we inevitably end up inventing wrong fantasies about heaven – or thinking very little of heaven at all.
We don’t seek to escape this life by dreaming of heaven. But we do find we can endure this life because of the certainty of heaven. Heaven is eternal. Earth is temporal. Those who fix all their affections of the fleeting things of this world are the real escapists, because they are vainly attempting to avoid facing eternity – by hiding in the fleeting shadows of things that are only transient.
In one sense it is possible “to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good.” But in a much deeper sense, it is impossible to be of any real earthly good unless we are heavenly minded. Only the heavenly minded will have the patience to continue faithful in God’s work when it becomes hard, unappreciated and seemingly unending. There is no greater cure for discouragement, fatigue or self-pity than to think of being in the presence of the Lord one day and of spending eternity with Him. We should make no apology for being heavenly minded.
Christians whose faith does not extend to heaven will have their eyes on the things of this world and will wonder why they are not happier in the Lord. Nothing in this life, including God’s most abundant earthly blessings, will give a believer the satisfaction and joy that come with absolute assurance of future glory.
Since we have a Father in heaven, let us look up to heaven often.
God and eternal things are my only pleasure.
Live near to God, and so all things will appear to you little in comparison with eternal realities.
Surely it is not wrong for us to think and talk about Heaven. I like to find out all I can about it. I expect to live there through all eternity. If I were going to dwell in any place in this country, if I were going to make it my home, I would inquire about its climate, about the neighbors I would have – about everything, in fact, that I could learn concerning it. If soon you were going to emigrate, that is the way you would feel. Well, we are all going to emigrate in a very little while. We are going to spend eternity in another world… Is it not natural that we should look and listen and try to find out who is already there and what is the route to take?
The nearer anyone is to heaven, the more earnestly he desires to be there, because Christ is there.
It has pleased God lately to teach me more than ever that Himself is the fountain of happiness; that likeness to Him, friendship for Him, and communion with Him, form the basis of all true enjoyment. The very disposition which, blessed be my dear Redeemer! He has given me, to be anything, do anything, or endure anything, so that His name might be glorified – I say, the disposition itself is heaven begun below.
One of the best evidences that we are truly seeking Heaven is the possession of hearts that are weaned from this world. None will ever enter the Father’s House on high in whose soul the first fruits of heavenly peace and joy does not grow now. He who finds his satisfaction in temporal things is woefully deceived if he imagines he can enjoy eternal things. He whose joy is all gone when earthly possessions are snatched from him, knows nothing of that peace which “passeth all understanding.” And yet, if the auto, radio, newspaper, money to go to the movies, were taken away from the average “church member,” what would he then have left to make life worth living?
And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.
As C.S. Lewis once said, “Whatever is not eternal is eternally out of date.” It is simple logic. Why not invest myself it that which will last forever and matter most in this life? Do I have the faith to believe that? Do I have a deep satisfaction for all that God promised me in Christ Jesus, beginning now? If so, I will value that which is really valuable. And in order for that to happen, I need the Lord to continually help me to keep my gaze in the right place because the things of this world oftentimes seem so right and attractive, don’t they? It’s so easy to worship the creation over the Creator, isn’t it? But God has designed it where ultimate fulfillment is only to be found in the eternal realm. So if we choose not to go that route we are programmed for failure.
It stands to reason that if God has built us to groan for the eternal (2 Cor. 5:4-5), but if we only groan for the temporal, that we will find ourselves continually dissatisfied.
If we dwell on high with “that great Shepherd of the sheep” we shall care little for all the confused bleatings around us, but if we become “carnal, and walk as men,” we shall have little rest if we listen to this, that, and the other which every poor sheep may bleat about us.
A little faith will bring your soul to heaven; a great faith will bring heaven to your soul.
A contemplative focus on the beauty of heaven:
1. Frees us from excessive dependence upon earthly wealth and comfort.
2. Enables us to respond appropriately to the injustices of this life.
3. Produces the fruit of endurance and perseverance now.
4. Exerts…purifying power on the heart.
5. Teaches us about the essence of true religion.
Not everyone thinks it helpful to focus on the future. They’ve bought into the old adage that people who do are “so heavenly minded they’re of no earthly good.” On the contrary, I’m persuaded that we will never be of much use in this life until we’ve developed a healthy obsession with the next. Our only hope for satisfaction of soul and joy of heart in this life comes from looking intently at what we can’t see (see 2 Cor. 4:16-18; Col. 3:1-4). Therefore, we must take steps to cultivate and intensify in our souls an ache for the beauty of the age to come.
Heaven must be in thee before thou canst be in heaven.
He who thinks most of heaven will do most for earth.
I value all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.
Is it not strange that we can for one moment lose sight of heaven, and the increasing glory; and grovel in the dust to gather pebbles, for the pleasure of throwing them afterwards away?
All is shadow here below! The world is a shadow; and it passes away! The creature is a shadow; and the loveliest and the fondest may be the first to die! Health is a shadow; fading, and in a moment gone! Wealth is a shadow; today upon the summit of affluence, tomorrow at its base, plunged into poverty and dependence! Human friendships and creature affections are but shadows; sweet and pleasant while they last, but, with a worm feeding at the root of all created good, the sheltering gourd soon withers, exposing us to the sun’s burning heat by day, and to the frost’s cold chill by night! Oh, yes! “Passing Away” is indelibly inscribed upon everything here below! Yet how slow are we to realize the solemn lesson: “What shadows we are, and what shadows we pursue!” Unconverted reader, what is your life but a vapor that passes away?and what are its pursuits but shadows; unreal, unsatisfying, evanescent? Your rank, your wealth, your honors, your pleasures, are but phantoms which appear but for a little while, and then are lost in the deeper shadow of the grave, and the still deeper and longer shadow of eternity! Oh, turn from these dreams and hallucinations, and, as a rational, accountable, immortal being, on your way to judgment, fix your mind upon your solemn, endless future! You are going to die! And, oh, when that dread hour comes, so real and appalling, how will your past life appear?