So Heavenly Minded,
No Earthly Good
We perhaps all know the Type, the person who is so heavenly minded they are no earthly good. They don’t seem to care about injustice, they don’t seem to be bothered by tragedies, they are not moved homelessness or … by anything but their own spiritual life, that of their loved ones, and where they will end up when they die.
The solution to this for many has been to (1) deny heaven altogether or more commonly (2) to say it is all speculation. I understand the frustration of these folks because if the so-called spiritual life is only for the spirit or of no use to real life now … well, there’s something very seriously wrong.
The God of Israel reprimanded Israelites who were spiritual but not earthly — fasting that does not relieve the poor is not right, Isaiah says.
The laws of Moses constantly made provision for the welfare of the poor and widows and orphans.
Jesus constantly concerned himself with healing the sick and socializing the ostracized and welcoming to the table those who were not otherwise welcomed. He did this because his heavenliness turned him into the ultimate form of earthliness.
My contention then in The Heaven Promise is that the more (biblical our) theory of heaven the more (active our) theory of life on earth.
A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do.
It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is.
If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.
The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven.
It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.
Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.”
Yes, I know. It is possible to be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use. My problem is: I’ve never met one of those people. And I suspect, if I met one, the problem would not be that his mind is full of the glories of heaven, but that his mind is empty and his mouth is full of platitudes.
I suspect that for every professing believer who is useless in this world because of other-worldliness, there are a hundred who are useless because of this-worldliness.