taken with permission from www.GospelinChina.wordpress.com
Imagine there’s three guys in front of you. Each one of them is given a hundred bucks. Then they are told that after an hour, something’s going to happen with their money. The first guy is told that after an hour, whatever money he has left will be taken away, no matter how much or how little. But the second guy is told something different. He is told that for every dollar he gives to someone in need, he will, when the hour is up, receive a thousand in return. The third hears something different yet. He is told that if, after an hour, he lacks so much as a cent, he’ll be beaten severely. And… action!
What’s going to happen? Of course, these three are all going to behave quite differently. One will go on a spending spree, another will guard his money with his life, while another will spend an hour searching frantically for an opportunity for benevolence. Why the difference? Their understanding about the future changes how they live in the present.
And so does ours. While we know that death will inevitably come to us all, it is our varied perceptions of the life to come that cause us to act in the different ways we do in this present life. If, for example, you believe that death is life’s final curtain, then the most logical thing you can possibly do is to ‘eat, drink, and be merry.’ Over against that is our faith in Christ, which says that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. There will be an eternity, to which this life and death itself serve as mere door and keeper.
Unfortunately, we (Christians and non-Christians alike) often find ourselves subscribing to some kind of bizarre hybrid of these two. I think that if someone was scrutinizing my life, trying to figure out what I believed about life after death, I think they would conclude that I believed in some kind of a Heaven (because I wasn’t on a spending spree or living in perpetual terror of death), but that I must have a very low opinion of this Heaven indeed (for I give it little thought and seem far more preoccupied with my various earthly treasures). Could they possibly guess that I agreed at all with the Bible’s depiction of the incomparable glory that will be Heaven?
We, the misers, the hoarders, the spenders, the wasters, and the indulgers – our lives express the warped view of heaven in our hearts. We either gaze into a mirror too dark, or we do not look into the mirror at all.
What does heaven mean for a missionary? It means that no earthly thing you or your family ever give up can really be loss. It is eternal glory disguised as temporal heartache. It means that fear of danger can crumble before apostolic boldness. Immortal souls can live in peril for the mortal. And it means that we are moving steadily towards eternal union with the One that we preach. It is love for him and anticipation of his presence that can make each day a joy.