And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. (Revelation 21:10-11)
“God is extravagant.”
It was a simple yet remarkable observation for my friend about a home makeover show we had just watch. In one segment, the design team remodeled the entire home for a large family in which both parents had recently died. When the children were brought in to see the changes, they burst into a combination of joyful shrieks in sobs. They were stunned by the extravagance of such a gift.
In my life, when I’m stunned by God’s extravagance I consider what the long tomorrow — what we refer to as “eternity” — will be like. What stunning things does God have in store for those who believe? What will we do forever? In his book Money, Possessions and Eternity, Randy Alcorn said, “we were made for a person in a place. Jesus is a person. Heaven is the place.”
The Bible is replete with images and suggestions of Heaven’s reality. We know that eternal life will be centered on serving and worshiping God. We will feel perfectly at home. We’ll meet in converse with other beings in heaven. We’ll rest and feast. Without the limitations of sin and death, we will be fully creative and joyful as we remain with God.
In the book of Jeremiah, we read, “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to every man according to his ways, or according to the fruit of his doings.” We have received salvation as a free gift; beyond that, His spirit moves us to do the good works for which we were created — and for which we will be rewarded. The biblical authors mention works such as putting others needs ahead of our own, suffering for his sake, showing compassion to the needy, treating enemies kindly and giving generously. These works spread the Gospel message. We accomplish them by using what He gives us daily in time and energy, money and possessions. Some rewards come in this life; the greater ones will come in heaven.
As Christians, we trust in a God we can’t yet see in a reality still to come. Heaven will be a remarkable existence, filled with the extravagance beyond our imagination. Evangelist D.L. Moody commented appropriately, “soon you’ll read in the newspaper that I am dead. Don’t believe it for a moment. I will be more alive than ever before.”
My God and King, sometimes I see bits of glory here in this life, and it reminds me that You have a stunning surprise waiting for me. Help me to then live selflessly, generously with what You give me. My hope is in You.