Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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This Together to Commend One Another is one of the easiest to implement. Most all of us enjoy recognizing one another’s skills, especially if we are not so gifted. And, how satisfying when we can recommend a person of skill to someone who needs help.

In Romans 16:2, the Apostle Paul commended Phoebe, a deacon in one of the churches, saying that she had helped many people, including himself. In 2 Cor 12:11 the Apostle Paul complained that he should have been commended. And, in 1 Cor 16:15 & 18 the Apostle Paul commended a whole group of faithful Christians in this way: “You know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and they have devoted themselves to the service of the Lord’s people. . . . For they refreshed my spirit and yours also. Such men deserve recognition.”

So, it is quite clear that commending one another is something we should do. Commending is mentioning our confidence in someone else’s skill or spiritual strength. This occurs most powerfully in Christian community through recommendation. Notice that commend is the root of recommendation.

There are practical reasons Christians need to commend one another because there is a wealth of resources in each group of believers. But, unfortunately, those resources are generally unavailable to other Christians who really need them – because of lack of commendation – word has just not spread of their existence and availability.

Word spreads about what other Christians have to offer us when we mention to one another our confidence or the confidence of another Christian we know in someone’s skill or strength. For example, when Sue mentions to three friends that a handyman did a great job fixing something in her home, that commendation instills knowledge of a resource in the minds of three other people. Then, when a friend of one of those three friends has a household problem, that handyman will be recommended.

Or, for another example to broaden understanding, Joe is having trouble trusting God to provide a better income for his money-strapped family. This becomes obvious to those with whom Joe is close – those in Joe’s Christian Inner Circle. One of these knows of someone in his own Christian Inner Circle, someone Joe does not know, who has strong faith and trust in God and arranges for the three of them to have lunch. During this time, Joe learns more about trusting God with his financial situation.

Everyone has, or should have, an inner circle of Christian friends and relatives. Each of those Christians has, in turn, their own Christian Inner Circle which includes other people. This creates an ever expanding network of Christians with hundreds of needed resources given them by God for the use of other Christians. If the Christians in these networks will mention those they know with skills and strengths, this knowledge will spread, and many people will know who has whatever they need in the way of physical or spiritual resources.
Here is a story I wrote to illustrate how very critical commending one another is and that it translates to heaven.

In heaven, Bonnie is known as the “Go To Girl” because she enjoys finding resources for others whenever they want to try something new and need help. It is not surprising when you know what she did back in one of the most evil times on earth before she died.

Bonnie was married to Harold who ran a small corner convenience store in a New York City neighborhood. Harold served lots of people, and some of them concerned him more than others. There was young man, we will call him “Joe” to protect his identity. “Joe” came into the store to buy cigarettes and was always sullen. Harold showed interest in “Joe”, but usually received the silent treatment in return. Harold did not give up and one day “Joe” commented that his water heater was not working and his apartment superintendent didn’t find “Joe” important enough to get it fixed quickly. Harold mentioned this to his wife Bonnie.

Bonnie became determined to get “Joe” help and called her church and then four others before she found a Christian plumber willing to volunteer his skills. She and the plumber hung around Harold’s convenience store, waiting for “Joe” to come. They helped stock shelves for a while, and then “Joe” appeared. Bonnie introduced herself as Harold’s wife and then introduced the plumber as a Christian who loves Jesus and would like to come right then and see if he could fix the water heater.

To make a long story short, “Joe” was then invited to dinner and a relationship began with Bonnie and Harold. Three months later “Joe” brought a box of materials to Bonnie and Harold’s home and asked their help in getting rid of some things. It turned out “Joe” was an ISIS terrorist recruit and the box contained materials to make bombs. He had been recruited over the Internet because he was alone, from a broken home, and alienated from American society. Thus, he found the propaganda of terror attractive.

Is it any wonder that in heaven Bonnie is the “Go To Girl”?

In heaven, it will still be quite important for Christians to recommend one another’s services. For example, someone who before death was confined to a wheelchair from birth and watched a lot of basketball on television will need a recommendation of someone who can teach him how to finally play the sport, now that he is not disabled. Whoever that someone is will in heaven naturally want word spread around that he is available to teach basketball.

Heaven will have so many brand-new opportunities that we will be busy doing different things for all eternity. All kinds of help will be needed from others to learn how to do these things. It is hard to believe that God will utilize impersonal things like the Internet help to His people learn. Commendation, recommendation and networks of relationships make far more sense for a society where person-to-person interactions will reflect God’s personal touch and bring Him glory through the reflection of Jesus in people’s lives.

We will not be hesitant to recommend others in heaven because there will be no sin holding us back. By commending one another now, we prepare for heaven by allowing God to change our spirits to pay attention to the strengths of others and pass word on about them as well as to be available with our own strengths.

Recommending one another will encourage each of us to be more faithful in service. Once we make the decision to allow our Christian Inner Circle to recommend us for service to others, we will begin preparing for much more joy in heaven. Surely, you have found joy in being able to say to someone, “I know just the person who can help you with that!” Through commendation and recommendation, that joy can be magnified now and later forever in heaven.

Unlike now, in heaven the needs of other people will be only pleasant. The timelessness of heaven will take away any sense of hurry or emergency. Harm will not be the source of needed help. Inferiority will be gone, so we will not fear that our help will not be enough. When it is not the complete solution to whatever is needed, others will gladly step in.

Since helping others will be only something wonderful, we have an eternity of wonderful service awaiting us. When we get to heaven, the more we have commended others and allowed them to recommend us, the faster start we will have in this most satisfying service to others.

Commending others also brings us closer in relationship with God. Here is another story to illustrate how heaven might be for those who actively commend and recommend others.
The Lord of Heaven approaches the small group of us meeting in the library. We fall reverently silent. He smiles at us and begins to speak.

“I just want to express my appreciation to each of you for seeing that commendation was a part of your faith before you got to your eternal home. For some of you, it was a significant part of your ministry in my Name. Every time you pointed out the talents and skills and spiritual strengths I had placed in another Christian, you were letting me live in you. I feel really close to you because you commended others as well as allowed them to recommend you.”

Then Jesus sits down with us. We all look around and notice that some of us are more radiant. Each of us realizes that those are the ones who were exceptional in the commendation process back in the sinful culture. Right now, at this moment, they are more connected to the Lord.

When we are with God in heaven, however that manifests itself, He will remember every one of the thousand times He recommended us by having our paths cross with someone who needed us. Hopefully, we each want God to remember lots of times when we responded with willing and thankful hearts for being called into His service.

It only makes sense that the more God remembers us responding helpfully when He brought someone our way, the closer will be our relationship with Him. God will appreciate both when we commended others and when we were the responsive ones recommended.

Let’s not feel guilty and waste time being despondent for not letting others, including God Himself, recommend our services. Let’s not be angry with ourselves for not seeking opportunities to tell that others were available. Let’s just get on to commending others and letting others pass on that we are available in the areas of our strengths: physical, emotional and spiritual.

To help the Lord with the work He wants to do in the lives of His people, Christians will have to constantly seek to discover valuable talents in each and every person in his or her Christian Inner Circle. (This is the Together of examining one another’s faith.) Then that knowledge has to be remembered and passed on at the appropriate time.

It is not that hard to discover in our Christian Inner Circles talents that might occasionally be needed by others. For this to work well, we each need to help everyone in our Christian Inner Circle truly desire to serve the Lord as He needs them. We need to help one another recognize the special privilege it is to be used by the King, not just occasionally or when it is convenient. We need this willingness of other Christians to be called into service for the freedom to recommend their help.

But commendation goes beyond just recommending someone to help. It means getting the word out across the network of our various Christian Inner Circles. To illustrate, let’s assume that my 5 closest Christian friends plus my wife Jean each have at least 5 notable areas of life skills and spiritual strengths plus one supernatural spiritual gift. That means that in my conversations with other Christians, I can mention from time to time 36 important resources. If some of those commendations are then passed on, most likely more than 200 announcements will be made about practical resources available from God for His people.

We defeat Satan every time we (1) help another Christian recognize his or her own godly behavior through commending complements, (2) spread the word about the resources God has made available through specific Christians, (3) connect people and their needs with those who have the needed skills and strengths, (4) assign helpful interventions to other Christians, and (5) give commendations that say, “God says to do this, therefore, you can do it”. Each of these types of commendation counters the devil’s strategies to defeat and discourage Christians and keep them from honoring God by living His way.

Even if there is no financial gain for anyone, we need to be able to say “I am sure so-and-so will help you. I will have him (or her) get in touch with you.”. We need to agree to be called into action. Imagine what good things would happen if every Christian could recommend with confidence another believer to give needed help? Wow! Would the world see Jesus in action!