[This post is my thoughts on DA Carson's final session at The Gospel Coalition Conference]
Even though Revelation is the weirdest book of the Bible, I was kind of excited when I saw that Carson was speaking on chapter 21, (it’s the part that’s in Titanic: wiping away every tear and no more death and all that good stuff).
Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy Carson’s talk because something he said in his introduction had my mind spinning the whole time. Before he even prayed DA reminded us of why we should learn about Heaven using one of my favorite verses:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21 ESV)
We cannot spend our lives building into temporal things and then be shocked when our hearts don’t delight in the prize of God. If we want to love God & long for Heaven, we have to spend ourselves on eternal things.
That’s pretty much the last thing I heard in the talk. One thought was dominating my mind:
Have I dressed up my earthly treasures in eternal clothing?
At one point in my life it was easy to tell the difference between earthly and Heavenly treasures. Back in the day, I spent my life on the obvious things: fame in the world, significance and worth through men and friends.
As long as earthly treasures look like inappropriate physical relationships with boys and obsession with fame and success, it’s pretty easy for me to spot them. It just gets a little trickier when they have shadows of Heaven around them.
I used to want to be a professional tennis player (no, I’m not any good at tennis, but I never let things like that stand in my way). I wanted to stand in front of crowds at Wimbledon and fall on my knees as I hit the winning shot.
Now, I want to travel and speak about God to women all across the country. I want to write words that actually make souls tremble in His presence.
Maybe that’s because I want His glory. Or maybe my desire for earthly fame has just gotten all dressed up in eternal clothing. My dreams look different now, but isn’t it possible that I’m still just spending my life trying to get the praise of man?
I say I want a marriage that glorifies God, but honestly – how do I know I’m not just slapping the ‘glory’ label on my desire for love to make it sound a little godlier?
I mean, will I still be saying I want a marriage that glorifies God if it ends like Elizabeth and Jim Elliot? Will I still say I want a marriage that glorifies God if it looks like Hosea’s and I spend the rest of my life reflecting God’s mystery of forgiveness?
I guess the true test of where our treasure lies is whether we’ll join David and say: ‘whom have I in Heaven but you and earth has nothing I desire beside you’.
A friend sent me her thoughts this week, and even though i haven’t asked her permission yet, they are too beautiful not to share (let this be a warning to all of you who are thinking of sending me emails)
If you must take away, then…take my job. I like the work and the purpose it gives to stewarding the gifts I’ve been given. But without my job, I still have gifts to steward. Or take my health. It’s good to breathe and move and function with freedom. But without my health, I still live in freedom. And take my friends, my family, my boyfriend. I love them and they love me, but without them I still know love that doesn’t leave me.
But if you must take the Holy Spirit in me? Well then take all of me. Without the Holy Spirit, I would be a blind photographer before a heavenly sunset, a crippled warrior going into battle, and a heartless bride at the marriage altar.
Heaven isn’t great because it’s filled with all the things we loved in our time here. None of our earthly treasures, even the people we love, are promised to us on the flip side. And if that’s disappointing to us, then we’re probably building our treasure in earthly things.
I don’t know much, but I do know that if there’s anything that could make the presence of God seem disappointing then we should probably get on our face and repent.
Here’s to a hope that doesn’t disappoint: Him.