John Alan Turner

Writer, Theologian, Consultant, Speaker, Teacher

The Person You'll Be In Heaven -- Part 2

Probably the biggest fear I hear people express about heaven is that they think it might be...well...a bit boring. I understand that fear. When I was a kid I heard a lot of people talk about how heaven would be one, long, never-ending church service. I've also heard plenty of people describe heaven as if it might have the feel of a nice, quiet retirement village. Don't get me wrong. I do enjoy gathering together with other Christians. And the thought of living in Leisure World may have its appeal for some. But this can't be heaven. I need variety. I need stimulation. I need beauty, and I need to be productive.

Never fear: in heaven you will be astonishingly productive. Buried there in John's description of heaven we read this:

There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:5)

Hang on. Did he say "reign"? Yes. Yes, he did.

What does it mean to reign? Is that just sitting on a throne, waiting for something to happen? Nope. There's a lot more to it than that.

This promise actually goes way back to the very first command given in the Bible:

"Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground." (Genesis 1:28)

This is God's original intent for humans. We were supposed to spread out and turn God's garden into a city. We were supposed to domesticate animals and arrange things. We were created to be industrious. It's in our nature to grow, learn, contribute, produce.

In heaven, that will finally be realized.

There's a promise Jesus makes in Matthew 25:21. He says that there's a day coming when God will return to settle accounts here on earth. The first thing he's going to want to know is, "What did you do with my Son?" But the second thing he's going to want to know is, "What did you do with all the stuff I gave you?"

For those of us who have made good use of our time, talents and treasure, God is going to say, "You've been faithful in a few things. I will put you in charge of many things." So, in heaven, you'll be in charge of some stuff. There will be stuff to do. Accomplishments await you in heaven.

I like how Dallas Willard words this:

"fullness of function...the restful but unending creativity involved in a cosmoswide, cooperative pursuit of a created order that continuously approaches but never reaches the limitless goodness and greatness of the triune personality of God." (The Divine Conspiracy, p. 400)

Of course, this has some implications for us now -- as we await the life to come. It means we can't just sit on our hands and wait for Jesus to return and take us home. We should be cultivating skills we can use in the next life. We work now with diligence and passion because heaven isn't a rest home. Heaven is where we'll put to good use all of the talents we've acquired in this life. Heaven will be the start of our real job. This world is training us for the world to come.