When the preacher stands up behind that fancy pulpit in his fancy suit and tie (I don’t normally wear a suit, so this obviously doesn’t apply to me) what goes through your mind? Other than, “I wish he would hurry up…the Methodists are going to beat us to lunch.” When you hear about Jesus, and holiness, and heaven, what do you picture? What do you think of when you read this verse:
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.
Colossians 3:1-2 (ESV)
As the preacher and Paul talk about “things above,” and heaven, and Christ on His throne, what images does your mind form? Clouds? Harps? Little children with wings frolicking in a field of white? Something else? And what happens to that picture when you read this verse: “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10b)? What happens when you have to try to bring heaven to earth, to fit those heavenly images you have in an earthly framework? Or try this: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering” (Hebrews 12:22). Is this hard to imagine?
But, maybe Paul, and Jesus, and the writer of Hebrews, and the preacher meant something else when they told you to think about things that are above. Maybe they didn’t mean seraphim, and cherubim, streets of gold, and pearly gates. Maybe they were calling you to a different way of life, a heavenly way of life, rather than just a stimulated imagination. And maybe they mean for your thinking on things above to continue, even when the preacher in his fancy suit and tie sits back down, even when you show up at the restaurant after the Methodists, when you get to work and meet a pile of papers on your desk, when you turn on the t.v., when you have “family time,” and when you “hang out with the guys” or go to the movies “with the girls,” when you surf the net, and when you go to the Senior Citizens Center, when you drink your third cup of coffee and read the newspaper, when you go on vacation, when you lie down to sleep, and when you rise up, when times are hard, and especially when times are easy.
C.S. Lewis wrote:
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.
(from The Weight of Glory)
I believe I agree with him…too often we are half-hearted creatures; we are far too easily pleased.
So, what is it that you are “fooling about with” instead of seeking the things that are above?