8/25/15

Aiming for a Better Target: Heaven

Where we aim in life is crucial; it shapes everything else we do.


I sat in a bus, gazing out at a Middle Eastern hillside. Sheep grazed as their young shepherd sat on the edge of the roadway. His mind was single-focused, far from the busyness of city life. As was mine.

Above the barrenness of the landscapeexcept for tiny patches of green beneath scraggly shrub treesthe expanse of sky drew me in.

The busyness of ministry had captured my thoughts for nearly a week, but now, on a long bus ride to visit the country's tourist sites, my mind drifted to simpler things. Oh how sudden solitude can adjust our perspective.

Suddenly "alone" in my seat, I thought of heaven. I recalled words I'd read in Bible college that stirred my heart as a young girl: "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." ~ C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity *

For a solid week, while it seemed I focused on earthly things, my ministry was securely rooted in the eternal. I shared God's practical truth and reinforced a teaching on the Christian worldvieweloquently shared by one of our speakers. I testified about the day I'd decided to follow the teachings of Jesus. I listened as women shared from their hungry hearts.

And then, as I witnessed God's work of transformation in many, I thought, "How wonderful! This little patch of Earth is becoming a bit more like heavena place of joy and peace, a place where God fills our thoughts."
Thoughts of heaven make such a huge difference 
in our attitudes and behavior!
Lewis wrote: *
     "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."

In his book Heaven, Randy Alcorn wrote: **
"Our minds are so much set on Earth that we are unaccustomed to heavenly thinking. So we must work at it. ... We need a generation of heavenly minded people who see human beings and the earth itself not simply as they are, but as God intends them to be." 
Returning home, I thought about some of my favorite scriptures: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:1-3).

As we seek those things that are above, we are actually seeking God and His purposes in the world.

I was more determined that thoughts of heaven would fill my mind.

I even placed a target above my computer to remind me to keep an eternal perspective.

  • I could target effective ministry. A worthy goal.
  • I could target better relationships. Again, well worth my time.
  • I could target many things.

But if I will target heavenif I will live with eternity in mindI will get these and other profitable things "thrown in."

And God will be honored.

Where are you aiming? Do you need a better target?

* C.S. Lewis quotes: Mere Christianity, (Harper San Francisco paperback, 2015), p. 132.
** Randy Alcorn quote: Heaven, (Tyndale House Publ,) p. 21.

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