Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Musings on Heaven

I am still thinking about how meditating on Heaven enables us to live well now.

In Mere Christianity C.S. Lewis says,
If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English evangelicals who abolished the slave trade, all left their mark on earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. [p. 118]

A contemporary person who lived with Heaven in view was Nate Saint, one of the five missionaries who sought to befriend and evangelize a savage Ecuadorian tribe. The movie The End of the Spear (2006) tells the story of these missionaries and their families who reach out to this tribe.

There is a particularly poignant scene between Nate and his son Steve right before they go to meet the Waodanis. Steve is anxious about his father going to met them. Fearing that the Indians might try to kill the missionaries, he asks his dad, "Will you defend yourself? Will you use your guns?

Nate replied, "No. We can't shoot the Waodanis. They are not ready for Heaven. We are."

Nate and the other four missionaries meet their Lord that day. But through their efforts and the efforts of their families, the Waodanis did hear and respond to the gospel. Now, they, too, are ready for Heaven.

I regret that my internal dialogue when I was hearing the movie for the first time was, “of course, we will defend ourselves.” I was more concerned about my personal safety than the eternal souls of the Waodanis. It is good that it was Jim Elliot, Nate Saint, and Pete Fleming who went out to meet the Waodanis that day. May my own faith grow until my thoughts of Heaven make me of the same earthly good.