I’m not a heaven expert. I won’t be able to sell a million books because of an out-of-body experience in Glory. I really can’t describe the place to you. That’s OK, because the Bible says, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). That pretty much rules out any accurate descriptions of Paradise while we remain on this side of it. The Bible tries. You’ve heard that there will be streets of gold, pearly gates and mansions. Now all of that may be exactly the way it sounds (did I mention I’ve never been there?) but it might also be the Bible writer’s attempt to describe the indescribable. For a guy (all the Bible writers were male) who walked on streets of mud, lived in shacks and entered cities through rickety gates, those other descriptors of heaven sounded pretty good. Being safe and secure, living well with no mud on one’s feet was maybe the best thing imaginable (in their minds), and concluded that must be what heaven will be like.
Around our church, we have been known to pray a version of the Lord’s Prayer that goes like this: “May your kingdom come and your will be done IN FLINT as it is in heaven.” We pray that prayer all the time. What would happen if God answered that prayer? Would Flint’s “Back to the Bricks” event be changed to “Back to the Golden Bricks”? Would everyone’s house look like the Mott’s Applewood Estate? Would our Vehicle City signs on Saginaw street be made out of pearls instead of steel?
Here’s my two cents. I honestly don’t care much about mansions and golden streets. If heaven has all that then great, but I’ll be ok with a one room cottage as long as Jesus is there too. Given the life and teachings of Jesus described in the Gospels, Jesus cared for the poor, the needy, the sick and the troubled. With that in mind, here are a few things that we can agree on about heaven:
1) Everyone will love Jesus.
2) No one will be hungry.
3) No one will be sick.
4) No poverty.
5) No drugs.
6) No human trafficking.
7) No liars, braggarts, and bullies (I think that means No Facebook)
I could go on, but you get the idea. Heaven’s going to be awesome! And if we really want God’s will to be done in Flint as it is in heaven, then it makes sense that we will work to see Flint become a little more heavenly. To that end, we must get as many people as possible to love Jesus too. It means fighting with all our might to put an end to hunger, sickness, disease, poverty, racism, and all the other bad “isms.” It means loving God and loving others. It’s showing kindness to all (even our enemies). It’s bringing hope to the hopeless and being present for the lonely.
Heaven will be awesome with or without mansions. But in the meantime, let’s make Flint more awesome too as we act, love, speak and serve in a heavenly manner!