Here But Far Away – David Ledbetter

May 8, 2017

Heaven isn’t just a place in our imagination. It’s real. It’s tangible. It’s here, but far away. It’s a mystery!


And it should be something that alters our day-to-day routines by bringing us a greater hope and expectation. Our perception of Heaven affects everything we do on earth. The more weight it carries in our lives, the more weight it has on our decisions. These decisions alter the course of our actions.


Am I supporting my beliefs through what I do, or just what I say?


A big view of Heaven should help keep us as doers, not just sayers.


In Matthew 10, Jesus explains to the disciples that persecution can be a sure expectation for their futures if they are to continue in the faith. How should they deal with that? Why is this so? Jesus answers these questions, but also affirms the disciples through clarification on what they truly must fear—God.


“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (v. 28)


Now, this isn’t a fire-and-brimstone speech, but there’s a large point here; Jesus knows exactly what these men—His longtime followers and those who have been with Him throughout this whole journey and still haven’t flaked (these guys are lifers)—are fearing… death! After hearing about being persecuted, they fear the pain, sorrow, and suffering they may endure.


Heaven puts my fears in the right place. It shrugs off the little things that can cling to my heart and bring unnecessary stress and pain into my life. When I have the right perspective of Heaven, my greater purpose is affirmed. I don’t have to live thinking about all these little things, so my thoughts don’t get caught up in the stream of the present. I’m stuck on the future and that informs my present.


My motion is no longer stagnated, but going forward. I’m dead to who I’ve been because I’m moving toward who I am supposed to be. 


Which brings me to my next point: Heaven provokes action. In the parables Jesus teaches (and there are many) two come to mind that talk about the Kingdom of God. In one, there’s a man who finds buried treasure, so he sells all he has and buys the field where it’s buried (Matthew 13:44). In another, a merchant finds a large pearl and sells all he has to buy it (Matthew 13:45). Both events have one piece of value—buried treasure in one and a fine pearl in the other—that alters the course of these men’s lives forever. They make the decision that everything they have cannot make them happier than this newly found value.


That’s what the Kingdom of God should be to a man. The men shed all of their present belongings and attachments in order to possess this new treasure. The only thing to remember is that Jesus is just using items that we can relate to. Treasure and pearls are extremely rare and high-priced commodities; everyone knows their worth is great. But Jesus is saying that this Heaven provokes a dismissal of immediate needs to satisfy the craving for a future treasure.


Once we experience Heaven, it changes everything. And it should be something that changes us forever, it’s not just a one-time deal.


Remember what you have to look forward to today, and for eternity. Let’s start living like we believe it!


—David Ledbetter


David Ledbetter is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions.


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