Author C. S. Lewis, so well known for his endearing Chronicles of Narnia, was a committed Christian. The famous Irishmen, former atheist and Cambridge Professor described his conversion during Trinity term 1929:
I gave in and admitted that God was God… perhaps the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.
His writings as a Christian apologist were many. Recently I’ve been reminded what he wrote about heaven and how real and important our belief in Heaven is. He wrote:
If you read history you will find that 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. Aim at Heaven, and you will get earth thrown in; aim at earth, and you will get neither.
There are a couple of reasons that I can think of as to why this is so. Confidence in Heaven will keep us from the trivial pursuits and tawdry pleasures of this fleeting world. Why live and invest our energies in something that is passing away and subject to God’s judgment?
Lest we doubt its transience we need only look at our bodies. Add to this the confidence that Heaven is the place of God’s presence and sins absence we have a great motivation for doing our bit to live out Heaven’s values now. This is why Jesus taught us to pray : “your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”. What will be for eternity, since it is God’s will, must be for our profit and good. It is worth while investing in now.
Without this heavenly goal we sell ourselves and our neighbours short and must settle for inferior substitutes and lesser goals of an earthly utopia (rendered impossible by our sin) or a despairing nothingness (itself the source of a gnawing hopelessness). For what we look forward to casts itself across our path as either a shadow of hopelessness or a light of confidence.
Earthly gifts and pleasures can be received with gratitude once we have this perspective right. They are reminders of God’s grace given for our nourishment now and as tokens and promises of future Heavenly realities. But these earthly pleasures are not for us alone, they are to be shared. Nor are they ends in themselves but pointers to God’s promises and reasons for our constant grateful praise.
Let C. S. Lewis’ wisdom and warning have the last word:
Our Heavenly Father will refresh us on our way with some pleasant inns but He would not have us mistake them for home.