Heavenly Minded (3/18/13)

Read: Numbers 26:52-28:15, Luke 3:1-22, Psalm 61:1-8, Proverbs 11:16-17

The crowds asked, “What should we do?” (Luke 3:10)

John The Baptist

Relate: A couple weeks back I was eating in a restaurant when I started eavesdropping on the table next to me. There were two guys there who were talking about a third coworker who was a Christian. One guy eating said, “He’s piratically a saint.” To which the other responded, “I don’t want a saint. I want a good employee.” Their conversation moved on but my mind was stuck on that one statement. I’ve heard the saying before, “He’s so heavenly minded that he’s no earthly good.” Although it wasn’t used by my dining neighbors, this was pretty much the concept they were talking about. I have to admit I’m guilty. There have probably been a few times in my past when coworkers might have made complaints like that about me.

DL Moody founded schools and was influential in starting up the YMCA. John Wesley was largely influential in abolition and prison reform movements and his “methodism” was accused of being works-righteousness by critics. Billy Graham was won over to the civil rights movement early and did a joint crusade with Martin Luther King Jr. He also later posted King’s bail after Birmingham. Jonathan Edwards is considered one of the greatest minds in American history, he invested heavily in social work among Native Americans and was famous for always opening his home for anyone in need.

React: I could go on and on. You can pick practically and great man or woman of God in history and it can be shown how their work was not just what we would consider “sacred” but also had some practical “secular” application as well. That is because everything is sacred. The separation of church and state is good for politics and governance but should never be confused with the separation of church from society. John the Baptist came on the scene preaching a very spiritual message and seeking to accomplish a very spiritual task, but those responding to his message found very practical application. “Share with those in need, be honest at your workplace, don’t abuse your authority, or grumble against those in authority.” Very down to earth responses this religious “nut” out in the desert seems to be giving.

So how does my faith get reflected in my work? Does my work ethic make my boss want to hire other Christians as well? Are my coworkers glad I’m on the job? Does my work habits and attitude give me a platform so that when I share my faith others are willing to listen? Being heavenly minded means I should be earthly good. Others should look at my spending habits and say, “Christians are generous.” They should watch my attitude and say, “Christians are caring.” They should listen to me speak and say, “Christians are encouraging.” They should examine my lifestyle and say, “Christians are loving.” If little by little, day by day, more and more this isn’t happening in my life then perhaps I should start questioning if I truly am a Christian.

Respond: 

God, please do not let me be an embarrassment to Your great Name. Help my lifestyle and my actions give me a platform to share You with others. Help me to be diligent and hard working. Help me to live with honesty and integrity. Let it be said of me that I am both heavenly minded and earthly good. Live through me because I cannot do it on my own.

27 thoughts on “Heavenly Minded (3/18/13)

  1. I heard that expression a lot growing up & was always struck – “if I weren’t heavenly minded, I wouldn’t be any earthly good” 🙂 — I understand, however. Balance, effort, focus, faith. Good post. Blessings – tim

  2. Absolutely love this post! “Everything is sacred”…you are so right. Could you imagine a world where we all believed that? A Utopian world where we would be less selfish. As hard as it is, we really need to try to show our faith, rather than just speak it. It’s a daily struggle, but we should all strive to be truly Christ-like.
    Amie. 🙂

  3. I concur that Christians should be identifiable with the characteristics of Jesus Christ. After all, that is why we wear the label “Christian”. I don’t have to beat people up with the Word, but I must live the life and keep my charitable activity to myself–just do it.

  4. You’ve got an awesome site and ministry going. May God be with you in all you’re doing to serve in Christ’s name. Looks like you live in a beautiful place, too!

  5. Great post!
    I love what CS Lewis said – “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.”

  6. Perhaps my favourite example is William Carey, who you may well know worked in India and helped to stop suttee, developed written languages for some languages so they could then translate and read the Bible, and helped with forestry, and, and, and…!

    It’s a tough one at times, though, when you feel small and that your resources / ideas / capabilities / etc. are so limited. Any thoughts on that? Perhaps you could do a post on it if you feel inclined? Just a thought 🙂

  7. BJ, I love the questions you asked, “does my work ethic make my boss wan to hire other Christians as well?” It is important that we remember we are not only representing Christ but also the body. Great post!

  8. I read one of the late David Wilkerson’s sermons that talked about how so often Christians are called to simply be “ordinary Christians”. And I love Isaiah where he (He) writes: “You are My witnesses”— this is the Lord’s declaration— “and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me,
    and there will be none after Me. I, I am Yahweh, and there is no other Savior but Me. (Isaiah 43:10-11). The best witness is the one who shows what God is doing in them – as you said – in our day-to-day lives. It’s just so easy to get caught up in some other kind of witnessing (on our own?) . Thanks for the post. Jenn

  9. Awesome stuff! I’ve always been annoyed at the “So heavenly minded, no earthly good” statement. I know what people are trying to say, but we are commanded to “set our minds on things above.” What people mean is, “Hyper-spiritual people are annoying.” I can agree with that statement.
    People who are legitimately heavenly minded are, as you said, intensely practical. Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Godly people are always bridging the gap between heaven and earth – not widening it. Great stuff!

  10. I just read a quote, and oddly, it was by Ghandi. He said, “I like Christ, but I don’t like Christians. They are nothing like Christ.” How sad, but your post made me think of that! You are so right! We can never seperate ourselves from society! May our witness ALWAYS burn bright and true to the nature of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus!! Blessings! Juliana

  11. Pingback: Heavenly Minded (3/18/13) | mygodsgrace

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