Saturday, February 21, 2009

February 22 Think of Heaven

February 22- Meditation on the future life
(Picture- Calvin on his death bed, Farel ministering)

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Calvin: Whatever kind of tribulation presses upon us, we must ever look to this end: to accustom ourselves to contempt for the present life and to be aroused thereby to meditate upon the future life. For since God knows best how much we are inclined by nature to a brutish love of this world, he uses the fittest means to draw us back and to shake off our sluggishness, lest we cleave too tenaciously to that love. (III.9.1)

We have this natural tendency to love the things of this life and this world. It is good to love the gifts God has given us, and to be good stewards of creation. But it is unhealthy to hold on to things too tightly so that they become in effect our God. Calvin seeks to break this stranglehold the world has on us by meditation on the future life.
One of the ways our love for the world shows today is the dismay we are having about the economic downturn. If we held the world lightly, we wouldn’t have this dismay. It is good to enjoy the good things of life, but we must enjoy them gingerly, holding onto them lightly. No treasure here lasts forever (as the scripture verse above points out). The meditation on the future life is a tool Calvin gives us (and Jesus too) to hold to the things of this world lightly.
I think there are many reasons to think about heaven.
1) It keeps us from making gods in this world.
2) It keeps us from being dragged down by the problems in this life.
3) It helps us to focus on Christ- both now and in the hereafter.
4) It keeps us from having an inordinate fear of death.
5) It gives meaning to the present- what we do matters for eternity.

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