Ad Spot

What is heaven like?

By MICHAEL J. BROOKS / Guest Columnist 

Note: This is an opinion column.

A mother wished to comfort her daughter when Fluffy, the family cat, died.

“Honey,” she said somberly, “Fluffy’s in heaven.”

“What’s God gonna do with a dead cat?” her daughter asked.

A common question we ask is, “What is heaven like?” And many ideas have been proposed. I heard a new idea once at a funeral. The officiating pastor noted the deceased’s love for the outdoors and insisted, “He’s now hunting and fishing in heaven.”

I remembered the joke Baptist music ministers used to tell about “I stand on Jordan’s stormy banks and cast”—stopping the lyrics at this point—as a way to acknowledge the importance of fishing. But this is only a joke.

And hunting? Isaiah said, “The wolf will lie down with the lamb,” so it’s hard to imagine animals being hunted in the new world (Isaiah 11:6). A gentle animal being shot would be like the recent death of Cecil, the lion, in Zimbabwe. I think the minister was simply using a metaphor about fulfillment.

Others insist all we’ll do is sing in heaven. Mark Twain once remarked that most people don’t like to sing, but insist they’ll sing for 1,000 years in heaven!

Of course the Bible teaches we’ll worship in heaven. We’ll praise the God who invited us there and thank him for his gift of eternal life. But worship isn’t all we’ll do in heaven, just as it’s not all we do on earth.

Part of our confusion about heaven, I think, is due to our misunderstanding about work. Some insist work is part of humanity’s curse due to sin, but a proper reading of Genesis reveals God assigned Adam work to do before he sinned. Work has always been God’s plan. He instructs us to seek and perform meaningful work in order to provide for our families, to invest in his kingdom and to help others.

We also bring honor to God by being good employees.

Scripture teaches one day we’ll “beat our swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.” Whereas this prophecy primarily foretells a world without war, it’s noteworthy that plowshares and pruning hooks are agricultural tools.

I’m not sure what kind of work we’ll do in heaven, but the Bible certainly doesn’t tell us we’ll be sitting in easy chairs and clicking our remotes for eternity.

I believe heaven will be filled with surprises. The Apostle Paul said, “eye has never seen, nor has ear heard, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

  1. L. Moody observed, “God rightly tells us little about heaven. If we understood the glory of it, we‘d long for it so much we’d shirk our responsibilities on earth.”

 

Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church’s website is Siluriabaptist.com.

280 Main Story

Top volleyball players make 2020 All-County Team

Montevallo

UM freezes tuition for third consecutive year

280 Reporter

Commission OKs ALDOT agreement for bridge replacement on Alabama 25

280 Reporter

SCSO’s Burchfield honored with retirement resolution

Calera

Christmas in Calera welcomes Santa for Small Business Saturday

280 Main Story

Online sex offender registry helps keep public aware

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster teachers receive well-deserved extra compensation checks

Montevallo

Sides joining forces for UM’s 2021 College Night

Alabaster Main Story

AGC Automotive breaks ground on new expansion

280 Main Story

Celebrating a century: Hallman has sharp mind at 100

News

PCS students honored with Character in Action Awards

News

PCS Foundation gives $2,500 to each Pelham school

280 Main Story

Debbie Horton approved as SCS Human Resources Supervisor

280 Main Story

Chamber’s Diamond Awards recognize 21 nominees, 3 winners

280 Reporter

Hoover Christmas Tree Lighting set for Dec. 1

Community Columnists

SCAC to host Holiday Artist Market

Community Columnists

Reaching out to those behind bars

Helena

Lee Springs Park opens in Helena, has historical remnants

Helena

HHS student named Outstanding Choral Student

News

Pelham man receives Governor’s Veteran of the Year award

Lifestyles

City of Pelham to hold outdoor Christmas concert Dec. 6

Lifestyles

Pelham holds outdoor concert for seniors

Helena Main Story

Art camp to let kids dive into the holiday season

Business

Specialty food mart Walnut Block opens in Pelham