Heavenly Minded?

Read: Colossians 3:1-4; Acts 1:9-11

Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (v. 2)

Karl Marx derided religion as “the opiate of the masses.” Religion is a narcotic that numbs people to present pains by focusing them on the promise of a life in heaven. Why work to make society better when God will soon whisk you to heaven anyway? The pop version is, “Christians are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good.”

Taken in isolation, today’s verses could be seen as a confirmation of this caricature. But these verses flow from what Paul said at the end of chapter 2. The Colossians were being tempted to focus on human rituals as the substance of their salvation. So Paul in effect said, “Forget all that—such earthly things cannot save you. Focus on where Jesus is seated as the King of kings and Lord of lords—that is where your true comfort can be found!” But that hardly means our work on earth is not also important. Paul knew that.

In Acts 1, when the disciples were staring up into the sky where Jesus had just disappeared in the Ascension, suddenly there were angels at their backs telling them, “Stop looking up—you’ve got work to do right here!” So which is it: stare into heaven where Jesus is or get to work here on earth? Yes. Both. Seeing our exalted Savior motivates us to work for him right here and now. You cannot do the one without the other! —Scott Hoezee

As you pray, praise Jesus for his heavenly reign and for the work he gives you today.

About the Author

Scott Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church of North America. He served two Michigan congregations from 1990-2005 and since 2005 has been a faculty member at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he serves chiefly as the Director of The Center for Excellence in Preaching. He is the author of several books, including most recently Why We Listen to Sermons (Calvin Press 2019) and is the co-host of the “Groundwork” radio program.

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