On Outward Things

I know that we as Christians are supposed to live lives that are not too attached to worldly things. We are called to ‘mortify the flesh’ that we may value Christ above all. However, I can admit that the thought of leaving this earth and going to heaven can be a scary thought. I do have inward fears of loosing all that I have received over the years, of not being able to have the same relationships as I have them on earth (no marriage in heaven, etc), no fun activities to play individually or corporately (on the computer, board games, group sports), no more corporate worship in church, no enjoyment of nature and pets, no creative and marvelous acts of worship using God-given free expression. And yet, I know that I say all of this in utter, utter ignorance. I say this with only a sliver of understanding.

The Scriptures say that we will worship God for eternity in His very presence! This is marvelous indeed, but with all that we have to enjoy and work for here on earth, I cannot help but be sad to think it will all come to an end. All the meticulous systems human beings have created here on earth to make organized, profitable and enjoyable life possible will end, and be as if it were for naught. Then here I read Thomas A’ Kempis ask, “Why dost thou here gaze about, since this is not the place of thy rest? In heaven ought to be thy home (Phil. 3:20), and all earthly things are to be looked upon as if it were a passing thing” (Bk 2,ch 1,pg 90).

In his book, The Imitation of Christ, Thomas reminds us to “never poureth out himself wholly to outward things” (92). How will I react if I loose everything on Facebook? or on my Gmail account? or on my computer’s hard drive? or my book collection? my pets? my accommodations? my written works? Do I have enough perspective to truly store my treasure in heaven, for my rest to “be most inwardly united with Christ?” (90). Everything I have is to be gratefully received as a gift, but in full understanding that nothing is my own, and nothing is guaranteed to stay with me.

If it be understood as a passing thing not my own, then I should pass the best and majority of my time in that which will last, which should be, with joy exceeding, in my Lord. Thomas calls me to “dwell willingly in his sacred wounds” for “If thou art willing to suffer no adversity, how wilt thou be a friend of Christ?” Yes! I want to be a friend of Christ. I desire that relationship. I desire to be that servant found to be ready for Christ when He returns in glory.

Therefore, I will strive to see everything I have and use as a gift that could pass at any moment, and if it does pass away, then I pray I can be the “spiritual man [who] quickly recollecteth himself, because he never poureth out himself wholly to outward things.”

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