By Dr.Kevin Thomas —
I asked a group of teenagers to tell me about heaven. They talked for a while about the perfection, joy, and lack of sorrow. In the end, they summed up heaven as a “white fluffy place.” It sounds enticing to spend eternity floating on a cloud sipping on one of those fruity drinks with a little umbrella in it.
There are other images of heaven. too. The Apostle John described streets of gold and gates of pearl, a city that shines with emerald and jasper. C. S. Lewis described heaven as the ultimate Reality, a place so real that mere mortals won’t bend the grass on which they walk, a place where fallen leaves are too substantive for mortals to lift. Others have visions of mansions, rainbows, and tables loaded with the finest of foods.
Jesus offers a different view of heaven. Take a minute right now. Hold your hand up in front of your face. Right there. Do you see it? Jesus said the kingdom of heaven is just that close. He prayed for the kingdom to come here, now, and it happens when we put those hands to work, when we reach out in love to serve those around us. When we offer whatever we do each day as a gift to God, we stake out a little more territory for our heavenly home in this world. C. S. Lewis put it this way. “There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him” (The Great Divorce 97-98). Next month we go to the polls to makes decisions that will make our world a little more holy or a little more hellish. When we choose to spend our money, we face the same choice. When we offer a kind word to a waitress or help a student learn to read, we usher in the kingdom. Doing our daily work with honesty and integrity is part of a heavenly invasion.
Of course, I do believe in a heaven on the other side of death, but why wait until we die to experience it. It’s available now. I’m certain that if we spend our time building the kingdom here, we won’t have to worry about the kingdom that’s coming.