September 2, 2013

Heaven is like…

I’m one of those results-oriented people. That is, if I cannot see any response or positive outcome, then I’m less inclined to continue. Learning how to persevere in obedience, regardless of visible results, is a tough lesson for me.

Today’s devotional reading begins with this verse again:

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

However, the author of the reading takes off in a rewards mode. He says that palaces on earth are built with some rooms greater and more costly than others. That is, one might be the king’s chamber, another for his heir to the crown, others for other children, their attendants and officers in the household, and still others for the servants.

He says Solomon’s temple was filled with rooms of different degrees too, such as the holy of holies where the high priest alone might enter, the holy place, where the other priests might enter, the inner court for the Levites to live and do their duties, plus the court of Israel and the court of the Gentiles.

He goes on to say that in a spiritual sense, people will have different degrees of honor and glory in heaven, and some will dwell nearer the throne than others. Some will be next to Christ. Does this mean the rooms He is preparing are of various degrees of honor? Is this about different activities like it is here where He sets people in His Body, the church as it pleases Him —one is the eye, another the ear, another the head, and so on?

My first thought was that if this is true, I will be on the outer fringes and with about the same status as my little toe. Many others have achieved much more for God. But then other verses came to mind…

And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:29–30)

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. (1 Corinthians 12:21–25)

God’s value system is not the same as ours. We tend to lift up those who are honorable here on earth, who accomplish great things. While they should be respected, many Scriptures talk of how Jesus honored the weak and despised. He isn’t interested in an earthly show of godliness either and even said that His Father rewards good deeds done in secret! (Matthew 6:6, etc.)

Thinking these things upset my earlier thoughts, not that I now figure I will be close to Jesus and those far more mature and godly will be farther away, but I’ve concluded we cannot possibly know these things. We dare not add our ideas of what is grand or who is to be rewarded to the simple promise of Jesus to His confused disciples. He told them God made a heavenly dwelling place for His people and that He was going on ahead to get it ready for them.

This means no speculation about my position in the palace, only humble gratitude that I will be there and total obedience until He arranges that final move. I like surprises and I’m content to let this be one of them.

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