Steve Shepherd, a Missouri preacher, tells a story about the time the French novelist, Honore de Balzac, was awakened by an intruder.
Balzac lived in a single room apartment. So the thief was trying to avoid waking Balzac as he quietly picked the lock on the writer’s desk. Suddenly the silence was broken by a sarcastic laugh from the bed, where Balzac lay watching the thief.
The startled thief asked, “Why do you laugh?”
“I am laughing to think what risks you take to try to find money in a desk by night where the legal owner can never find any by day.”
Shepherd commented, “I think this story characterizes most people’s lives. They are trying to find money where there is no money. They are trying to find happiness where there is no happiness. They are trying to find comfort and security where there is none. They are trying to find something where there is nothing.”
That’s why the apostle Paul admonishes us to focus our attention and interest on the next world. In Colossians 3:1-2, he issued this challenge:
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
Thirty years ago, I read a book by Tim LaHaye entitled “The Battle for the Mind.” In it he describes the challenge of being bombarded with worldly, materialistic, and humanistic thoughts from media, educational institutions, and even our own government. Our thoughts, feelings, and actions are shaped by the attitude of our minds. We are engaged in a spiritual warfare. It is the battle between being carnally minded and spiritually minded.
With the pressing issues of our jobs, families, and daily responsibilities, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important. Of what really matters. Of our eternal focus. We can become comfortable and complacent with life here. And fail to appreciate its brevity and consider the life to come.
Sir Frances Drake described our condition and offered this challenge: “Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrive safely because we have sailed too close to the shore. Disturb us, Lord, when with the abundance of things we possess, we have lost our thirst for the waters of life; having fallen in love with life, we have ceased to dream of eternity; and in our efforts to build a new earth, we have allowed our vision of the new Heaven to dim. Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly, to venture on wider seas where storms will show your mastery; where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars. We ask you to push back the horizons of our hopes; and to push into the future in strength, courage, hope, and love.”
Since we have been raised up with Christ, our lives should take on new meaning. We have a higher aim. Greater aspirations. A quest for more. A deeper desire for holiness. Godliness. Righteousness. Love. Devotion. Patience. And selfless service and sacrifice.
In the words of the lyricist, Luther Lee Barnes, “I’ve got heaven on my mind.” It begins this way.
I started with Jesus at a very early age
Yes, I’ve known him nearly all of my life
I admit there have been times when I faltered along the way
But I’ll keep trying because somehow I’ve got to make it in
You see, I’ve got a charge on my life and I’ve got a job to
Do, and I can’t stop until it’s through
I’m determined, I’ve got a made up mind
I can’t stand around wasting my time
I’m gonna keep on working for Jesus every day of my life
Cause I’ve got heaven on my mind
The song concludes this way.
You can talk about me, say what you wanna say
You can stand around wasting your time
While your talking, I’m gonna keep on walking
Cause I’ve got a heaven on my mind
What’s on your mind? And where are your affections?
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman