Some time a long time ago, probably in a country Methodist church, a preacher wiped his brow, paused, glowered, then bellowed “You’ve never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer, have you!?”
His point was well, if melodramatically, made and has been made by thousands of preachers since. (Though, to give credit where it’s due, they got the idea from Jesus. Check out Luke 12. It’s never a bad idea to get one’s ideas from the Son of God; just be sure to cite your source.)
You can’t take the stuff of this life with you when you die. Not your house or car or kids or 401-K or 403-B or lake house or book collection or dog or cat (because cats don’t go to heaven). When you’re dead you’re gone. So what is the point of all the effort to enrich this life? Is it simply to make our few years on this terrestrial ball more tolerable and meaningful? I hope not because even a meaningful eight decades mean little when compared to eternity.
This line of thinking is tied pretty closely to mindset that says we have two jobs in this life – hold on until heaven and see if we can win a soul or three to take with us. It leads to a dislike and mistrust of culture and the world which is usually followed by separatism and distance, a decided lack of curiosity. But the curious person, by digging deeper into God’s word and God’s wishes would see something amiss here. She would see something missing.
Heaven will not be a far away place to which believers can escape from this earthly den of iniquity. In fact heaven will come to us one day – a new earth, a New Jerusalem. The earth God created unblemished by sin will be cleansed of all sin’s marks and healed of all it’s scars. The unredeemable will be burned up, but those things which reflect God’s truth and glory will remain and be even better than they were before. Christ is establishing His kingdom here and we will dwell with God.
The implications of this are so encouraging, especially for the curious and those seeking to make an impact in culture. Your efforts are not in vain. You are not just filling your years only to go float on a cloud for the next several billion eons. No, what you are doing, if done for God’s glory and in pursuit of His truth, will carry into heaven!
True curiosity is the pursuit of truth, the exploration of God’s creation and will for the world. In this way curiosity in this life is a launch pad for the next. Everything we learn of God, every soul we impact, every aspect of culture we impact for good, everything we create for His glory is preparing us for heaven and preparing this world to be the new earth. We cannot redeem this fallen world, only Jesus can and will do that. But we bear God’s image and are His emissaries. That means that we can leave bits and pieces of His image all over this world, and curiosity is how we do that. What is more, our own relationship with Him and knowledge of Him is enriched and enlarged, and this goes with us too. We don’t start over when we die; we take our knowledge and love and relationship with us.
[This is an exerpt of a book “The Curious Christian” by Barnabus Piper to be released in early 2017.]