Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Christians are so heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.” The idea behind this statement is supposed to be that Christians are content to leave the world the way it is because we are simply biding our time here so that we can get to our final destination, Heaven. It’s only those people who don’t believe in Heaven that will do the hard work to improve the Earth, because Earth is all there is.
While this is a catchy cliché, it misses an important point. Christians do try to make the Earth a better place, every single day, and they do it because Heaven represents what Earth is supposed to be like. Heaven, the Christian’s final destination, is a perfected and transformed Earth. Heaven is what Earth was supposed to be before sin entered the world and corrupted it.
It is only by focusing on what is supposed to be, that we will change what is. C. S. Lewis says this eloquently in Mere Christianity:
If you read history, you will find that the Christians who did 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. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’: aim at earth and you will get neither.
Randy Alcorn summarizes the point: “We need a generation of heavenly minded people who see human beings and the earth itself not simply as they are, but as God intends them to be.” So, rather than chide Christians for focusing on Heaven too much, the non-Christian should hope that Christians do just the opposite!
The Christian vision of Heaven is what drives us to improve the Earth we currently call “home.”