Have you ever thought about that question? Do you imagine work is something that heaven will finally free you from? Josh Brumbaugh is wondering about the same thing over at the Kern Pastors Network blog:
If work is solely part of this broken, fallen world we live in – a “have to,” rather than a “get to” – it is a curse from which we will be liberated in glory. And thus, work has more in common with hell than with heaven. With this mindset, is it any wonder that some Christians go through the motions in their jobs?
There is no question that sin has corrupted our work. In consequence of humanity’s disobedience, God did curse work. Our work now has an element of “painful toil,” the frustrations of “thorns and thistles,” and a “great increase in the pains of childbearing” (Genesis 3:16-19). But I don’t need to convince you that work can be frustrating. I do, however, need to convince you that work is inherently holy. Or at least I need to be convinced of this!
Josh goes on to talk about his childhood, and then adolescent, images of heaven:
As a child, I imagined heaven being a place of golden harps and white, fluffy clouds – a land of unceasing worship – with a never ending round of “Shine Jesus Shine.” I abandoned this view because honestly, at age 15, it sounded more like hell than heaven to me! (This exposes both the shallowness of my view of worship at the time, and the fickle nature of my affections for Christ.) As a young man, heaven became a land of “sanctified self-indulgence.” Sort of like a never-ending cruise. Delicious food and drink, blue oceans, white, sandy beaches, beautiful people, sports, and entertainment in a land of leisure and play.
Some Biblical commentators, he realized, backed up the picture of heaven as a land of endless festivity. But not all, and other verses puzzled him:
For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in that which I create; for behold, I create Jerusalem to be a joy, and her people to be a gladness….They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. (Isaiah 65:17, 21)
We need to reconsider our view of heaven. The Scriptures describe heaven as a place of leisure and work. But there is a glorious difference between work on heaven and on earth. Work is not frustrating in heaven. In fact, it seems that work and leisure overlap! Heaven is a place where our avocation (what we most enjoy doing) and our vocation (what we do for living) are the same!
Ever thought about it that way? Join the discussion. And visit the KPN site, as always, for more resources and some reflection questions to spark group discussions on the issue.