“The professionalization of the ministry is a constant threat to the offense of the gospel. It is a threat to the profoundly spiritual nature of our work. I have seen it often: the love of professionalism (parity among the world’s professionals) kills a man’s belief that he is sent by God to save people from hell and to make them Christ-exalting, spiritual aliens in the world. The world sets the agenda of the professional man; God sets the agenda of the spiritual man”
~John Piper, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, 3.
Heaven has invaded my thoughts a bit more over the past few weeks. While I cannot pinpoint a particular reason as to why my thoughts have been more heavenward, it’s been refreshing to consider this life in light of eternity.
Before the last few weeks, it strikes me how little I think about heaven. This isn’t just the fallout from a busy life and a forgetful mind, but it’s probably more accurate to say that it is because I think too little of heaven. My thoughts are wrapped up in what is right before me–the daily hustle. I find it difficult to consider anything beyond my next appointment notification, much less eternity. I live a consumed life focused on this world at the expense of my future, more permanent, and heavenly home. Perhaps you can relate?
Could it be that in our conversations about work, vocation, ministry, and calling we’ve allowed our heavenly lens to be shaped by a hustle lens? Perhaps we are becoming too comfortable and satisfied with life in the here-and-now, and not in the already-not-yet. Don’t get me wrong, hustle or work is good, and indeed necessary, but it is not what we are made for. We are made for something more. The focus of our lives should not primarily center on our careers of the 9-5 variety, but we should instead live in light of an eternity in the presence of God in, what the writer of Hebrews reminds us is, a better country, a heavenly one.
Paul, in Philippians 3:13-15, tells us to press on with a heavenly perspective:
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you.
Today, put your hope in heaven and allow it to shape your hustle. Let’s let God set our agenda, not the world.