I have spent the better part of the weekend moving my things from the old modular into our new administrative center. For the past decade all the staff offices have been in a rotting, dank, dim, and mold infested trailer behind the church’s main building. Recently, though, my wonderful church has spent a lot of time and energy (not to mention cash) to build us a wonderful new complex of office suites. I am so deeply appreciative of the effort they have put in and how nice it is. This weekend I made the transition from my old study to the new one. I’ll try and have some pics up soon!
As I moved I went through the sort of process people always go through whenever they move. Some things have to go with me into the new room. These objects are non-negotiable. Other things, though, I’m simply leaving behind. Its not that these things were bad and I do not intend to throw them away (maybe someone else can use them) but I simply will not need it in my new workspace. There are still some other things, mostly books, which I need to bring home and keep at the church anymore. I want them and maybe even need them; but I don’t need them there. I need them somewhere else. Finally—some of the junk I’ve accumulated in that office just needs to find its way to the landfill. It is easy to throw some of the things away, but not all of it. Yet I know it needs to be done.
Jesus promised us in John 14:1-4 that he is going to “prepare a place” for us. It is an interesting metaphor for a man raised as a carpenter’s son to say. He is building us new digs in heaven. Sometimes we think of this as a mansion or maybe even luscious rooms inside of the great palace of heaven itself.
What if; now I’m just hypothesizing and daydreaming a little, but what if the process of living life and then the eventual work of dying wasn’t a lot like me culling out the stuff from one room, my old study, into a new room. If I think like that for a moment; then a little clarity about heaven occurs.
- The things we take to heaven; the only things we take to heaven are our relationships, our spiritual vitality and our positive memories. These are the non-negotiables that make the move with us from earth to heaven.
- A great deal of the things I accumulate here on earth; though not evil, will be left behind in the move. This includes my home, money, retirement, and dashing good looks. With the exception of my good looks everything else will be left for someone else to pick through and see what they might want.
- What of the things which I still want to keep but not take with me to the new room, things I need but put somewhere else? These are the words I need to speak to other people—to store them inside their souls. What kind of words? Words of affirmation, encouragement, reconciliation, and hope that we need to make sure we say to certain people before it is too late.
- Finally, there are some things that just need to be junked. In a lot of ways this metaphor reflects the greatest part of living the Christian life. I must always be working to cast aside and discard anger, bitterness, hate, grudges, jealousies, sin, bad memories, and wasted opportunities. This process of holy sanctification is what lightens my load as I prepare to move into my eternal new digs.