C.S. Lewis once said that, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this.” (Mere Christianity, book 3, chapter 10) I’m curious to how some of you would respond to my thoughts on this quote. So, if you feel so inclined, respond.
Many people, not Lewis, believe that those who are heavenly minded are of no earthly good. This is not a rare thought, I’m sure you’re in one of two camps on this one: you’ve either said this to someone, or been on the receiving end of someone saying this to you. Do you think it’s true? It does seem to be true at first, if one merely looks on the surface of things, because the primary orientation of one who is heavenly minded is heaven, not earth, and that seems strange when the residence of the heavenly minded person is earth, not heaven. But under the surface, I’m convinced we find different story.
Christians are people who are looking forward to a world greater than this one, one that will never fade away or perish. Christians are people who live by faith, meaning that they are people who hope in things they cannot see in this world. Christians are also people who long for that which is immortal swallow up that which is mortal, they long for sin to be gone for good, and they long for injustices to be abolished and reversed once and for all. Christians are a people who are heavenly minded and this is not to be despised, as if they were merely being wishful or desiring to escape this present reality. It is what Christians are meant to do.
But is this of any earthly good? Indeed it is. The Apostles, very heavenly minded men, began what would eventually lead to the conversion of the entire Roman Empire from a heavenly idea. The great men of the middle ages who contributed most to the knowledge of mankind were by and large, Christians. The English Evangelical Christians, inspired by their heavenly values, abolished the slave trade. For sure, there are many more examples, and yet some of you would respond by arguing that many have also done much harm and ill to this world and those in it as a consequence of their heavenly minded-ness. This is true, no one can deny that. But ought we to throw out being heavenly minded all together because some, in the name of a god, did evil? That would be foolishness to the Nth degree. I’m convinced that those who did evil in the name of some “heavenly-minded” agenda were really more earthly minded than they were aware. If someone is truly heavenly minded, they will be of enormous earthly good. How can I claim such a thing? Because of one thing.
Those that are heavenly minded only want what is best for all people. What is best for all people is Jesus. Therefore those seeking to give you Jesus (true the method of delivery and definition of “Jesus” are needed here), are the most loving people in the world. Thus, those who are heavenly minded are the most earthly good.