I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.
Psalm 23:6 ESV
Dear ICB family,
You've probably heard it said that some people are too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. Is that actually possible? Well, that depends. What does being "heavenly minded" mean?
Let's assume that "to be of any earthly good" means to live in such a way so as to be a benefit to others. If, then, to be "heavenly minded" means to live in a dream world that's comprised of ideas devoid of acts of loving kindness toward one's neighbor, then, yes, I would say it would be possible for a person to be so wrapped up in fanciful ideals that he or she ceases to benefit anyone else at all. A person who has developed a just-me-my-Bible-and-Jesus mentality about this life would fall into that category.
However, I personally wouldn’t describe such a person as "heavenly minded" at all. I'd call such a person disconnected, disinterested, and delusional.
I would define "heavenly minded" like this: "One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple" (Psalm 27:4, also a Psalm of David, quite reminiscent of the last line of Psalm 23: "and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever"). Really, David? You get to ask for anything and all you'd ask for is a spot around the throne of God just so that you can see him? That's what I'd call "heavenly minded."
It's precisely this kind of heavenly mindedness—the eyes of the heart fixed on one's ultimate enjoyment of the eternal presence of God—that allows a shepherd-king like David to confidently march down into the valley of the shadow of death. He knows who will walk with him—his Good Shepherd—and he knows what awaits him on the far side of the valley—the house of the LORD, where he'll live forever.
And it's precisely this kind of heavenly mindedness that allowed Jesus to walk up Calvary's hill and stretch out his hands so that a Roman soldier could drive the nails. Jesus "for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus, like David, knew what awaited him on the far side of Golgotha: joy—the kind that is filled to the top and overflowing and that lasts forever in the presence of his Father (see Psalm 16:11).
In that sense, then, I'd say, no, it's not possible to reach the point at which you're too heavenly minded to be of any earthly good. In fact, if it's not the bottomless, eternal joy to be found in God's presence, what else is there strong enough to convince me to sacrifice my body—or worse, my pride—in order to love my neighbor well? What's going to motivate me to cast off quick-temperedness and put on patience so that I might be a better husband if it's not a heart riveted on the hope of dwelling in the house of the Lord forever? How will I ever give up my comfort and ease for the sake of another if I'm not so heavenly minded that I'm freed to do so, knowing that the recompense will be beyond anything I could ever imagine?
In other words, if I'm not heavenly minded, how can I possibly hope to be of any earthly good to anyone at all?
Praying for more heavenly mindedness,