THE MOST DIFFICULT EASY CHOICE TO MAKE
Brothers and Sisters,
I truly love Minnesota and I really love the fact that I am from Minnesota. I go toe-to-toe with my friends from other places who make fun of me for being from (what they call) a fly-over state or (what some say is) a backwards place of the United States. I don’t think any of that is true: Minnesota is the best, and I love the land of ten thousand lakes. While I was growing up, my extended family would quip: God was showing off when He designed Minnesota.
This earthly enjoyment of all that our state has to offer in beauty, weather, and natural attractions is a big challenge for the Christian. Delighting in the bike trails, lakes, Summer weather, and more is fun but Christians must always confront ourselves with this question: is it worth giving up for Heaven? Now, I assume that all of us will have an engrained response: of course I would give up anything for Heaven. That is the correct answer, of course, but is it really what we mean or does it stop at the level of a pious platitude?
For example, I have written about my Grandfather before – how he died more than twenty years ago, that I still miss him, and that I still pray for him. Most of my friends find this at least silly – saying that “well, a heaven without the ones you love wouldn’t really be anything like heaven anyway.” While I certainly understand the sentiment about Heaven being a place of joy, that notion that my friends often articulate demonstrates a backwards understanding of the joy of paradise.
Heaven is not a place built as an amusement park. The idea being a tourist destination is that it is designed to bring you enjoyment, pleasure, and delight. Heaven is indeed the place of ultimate delight, but it is not a delight is selfish or individual pleasures. We need to change and adjust our own way of thinking to even appreciate the joy of Heaven.
Here’s a silly example: if getting into Heaven meant that for the rest of my life I could not watch football, hockey, and basketball (say that God declared these to be mortal sins), I would have a very difficult time letting go of these things that I have come to treasure. The same question becomes much harder to answer: well, Father Jeremy, will you watch football or go to Heaven, which shall you pick?
Obviously this is a silly scenario, but I challenge you now to find those sins in your heart that you would rather not let go. These are the things that force us to answer that questions honestly. Do you really prefer heaven?
God be near,