by Tim Hall
To keep the fire burning we have to add fuel.
Winter nights were often cold in the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. The house in which I spent several of my early years was heated by a coal furnace. We treasured the warm air that came out of the ducts, but that warmth came with a price. To keep the heat flowing, the fire in the furnace had to be constantly stoked.
The thought of living forever in heaven is a warm thought. When life on earth becomes burdensome, it is sweet to turn our minds to images of perpetual comfort. We may not know exactly what heaven will be like, but we enjoy the assurance the promise brings.
Thoughts of heaven do more than comfort. After stating that we’ll be like Jesus when he appears, John added: “And everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:3, NKJV).
What about those who don’t have the hope of eternity in their hearts? What can keep them from making earthly prosperity their prime ambition?
The popular media of our day doesn’t do much to encourage thoughts of the afterlife. Television programs on the topic of religion are almost always skewed by the views of those who spend little, if any, time in God’s word. If our focus is mainly on television, the Internet or other forms of media, the fire of heavenly hope receives no fuel. The fire will eventually go out.
How we need to stoke those fires! Spending time in God’s word does just that. The flames blaze more brightly as we read and meditate on words like these: “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29).
Life on earth becomes less wearisome as we reflect on the eternal rest Jesus will give.
We don’t feel the cold of this sinful world as much when we savor these words of our Savior: “In my father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2).
That passage gives few details on what heaven will be like. But if Jesus is preparing that place, that’s enough to know.
There are many passages that give glimpses of the Christian’s future. Consider one more: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
If serving Jesus means that suffering in this life will increase, so be it. We’re not living for this world. We live in anticipation of the glory to come.
by Tim Hall