The Bible pretty clearly teaches that this world and everything in this world is passing away.
“…You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You remain; And they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will fold them up, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will not fail.” Hebrews 1:10-12 (NKJV)
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” 2 Peter 3:10 (NKJV)
Where the world is passing away, heaven is eternal.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Revelation 21:1-2 (NKJV)
The New Jerusalem comes down and stays forever. One of the things that this brought to my mind is that none of the things that the world considers to be so valuable and important will survive. All the things that people hoard, fight over and work to get will pass away.
That’s a pretty powerful thought. This is one of those things that if we really believed it to be true, it would affect the way we live our lives. We would live for those things that will survive instead of those things that are going burn up. As the old saying says, only one life will soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.
The Bible also teaches that there are things that we do in this life that have temporary value and things we can do in this life that have eternal value.
“Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.” Revelation 14:13 (NKJV)
“Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12 (NKJV)
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 (NKJV)
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 (NKJV)
Knowing that this life and everything in it is passing away and that heaven is eternal and that we are able to store up treasures in heaven ought to influence the way we live our lives from day to day.
During one of our discussions when I was going to Hillsdale my professors said, “You can become so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good.” I don’t know if I ever really agreed with statement or not but I thought it was interesting. I suppose that it is possible for a person to be so heavenly minded that they are of no earthly good, but I’ll have to say I’ve yet to meet anyone this accurately describes.
Compare that with this quote from C.S. Lewis, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this one.”
Personally, I think Lewis is exactly right. A good grasp on the fact that the things of this life are perishing and the things of heaven are eternal will inspire us to fulfill what Paul says at the end of 1 Corinthians 15.
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 (NKJV)
What are you doing to store up treasure in heaven?