Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

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In God’s kingdom, He wants His redeemed people to share their possessions, themselves, and their opportunities with one another. God works in this way to take care of and bless all of His children for this side of death as it will be consistently in heaven for all eternity.

Biblical sharing is sacrificial and tests what we value most and how sure we are that God will provide for us. Biblical sharing is active, not only passive.

Passive sharing is when we are willing to share something if someone asks for it. If a person’s power lawnmower stops working and it will take two weeks for it to be repaired, if that person comes to one of us and asks to borrow our lawnmower, that is passive sharing. It is helpful but not much out of the ordinary. However, if we hear that someone in our Christian Inner Circle has a broken lawnmower and we call to offer the use of ours, that is active sharing. Active sharing is unusual in our culture and happens only occasionally, but it should be a normal thing in the kingdom of God.

Then again, if I live in an apartment and find out someone in my Christian Inner Circle needs a mower and I call someone I know, but whom the person in need does not know, and arrange for a lawnmower to be available, that is “super” active sharing.

We are told in 1 John 3:17-18, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

There are critical spiritual benefits for getting ready for heaven by Christian sacrificial sharing of possessions, themselves, and opportunities. 1 Tim 6:18-19 reveals that generous sharing helps us take hold of the essential life of our faith. “Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”

Here’s a story I made up that illustrates truly Christian sharing.

When in a panic Abigail called Jonathan, a man she worked with who was also in her Christian Inner Circle, she told him she had to immediately get to her daughter’s college. Her daughter had been raped and Abigail had no reliable automobile to make the 1,000 mile trip. Abigail desperately needed to get there and bring her daughter home. Unfortunately, Jonathan could not go as his car was in the shop being repaired.

Therefore, Jonathan immediately began calling every close friend and relative in his Christian Inner Circle to ask them if they or anyone in their own Christian Inner Circles had a car that could be borrowed. A friend of someone in Jonathan’s Inner Circle offered a car, another offered gas money, and a third person who had a sister who had gone through something similar insisted that she drive as Abigail was probably in no shape to be behind the wheel.

The rescue went well, but, unfortunately, on the way back, the car’s radiator blew 150 miles from home. The fellow who lent the car did not have the money for the expensive repair. So, Jonathan was back on the phone. More than enough money for the car repair was raised.

In all, twelve people shared something needed to see that Abigail could retrieve her daughter. All lost something in the process and did not care. Any suffering was more than offset by the rewards there would be in heaven for such generosity. This was great preparation for heaven.

And, the preparation for heaven through sharing hasn’t stopped, as all are pitching in to pay for whatever counseling is needed for Abigail’s daughter.

Growing in faith to be able to share more and more yields these great benefits for heaven.
(1) Recognizing, accepting, and rejoicing that we do not belong to ourselves, but to God who purchased us with His Son’s blood, prepares us to go to heaven as more joyful and obedient citizens of the King.

(2) Recognizing, accepting, and rejoicing that our possessions are not truly our own but on loan from God prepares us to go to heaven and treat possessions, experiences, and people as belonging to God so that forever we will handle it all with special reverence.

(3) Sharing itself is worship because it reflects God’s generous character. The more we share now, the more joy of worship we will have through our abundant sharing in heaven.

(4) Sharing is also preparation for living forever in God’s heaven where possessions are definitely not more valued than people. We grow in putting people before things and move away from materialism. We upgrade relationship happiness and lessen happiness from possessions and experiences. Loaning more expensive items requires greater values regarding people and less concern for things.

(5) For many Christians, sharing things that cost more to replace than they have money set aside requires faith that God will take care of them. The financial risk in sharing makes our trust in God grow. This is valuable in heaven where great trust will make it easier to risk in many ways we can imagine and a hundred times more of which we cannot even dream.

Many of us know the joy that comes from passing good things along to others. Perhaps someone was through with a great Christian DVD course on some aspect of walking with Jesus and gives it to us. We watch it and find it inspiring. We then experience the joy of passing in on to someone else.

That is what life will be like in heaven. Sharing will open up many joys of discovery.
God is not in love with technology, but with His people. He did not send His Son to die that we might invent smart phones that do all but brush our teeth. Relationships will be far more important than technology in heaven. So, consider this possibility.

God creates a new kind of flower. He does not put its picture and information out by television or Internet. Instead, He shows and tells that small percentage of heaven’s citizens who most developed their joy over His creations back before their deaths and were superior in sharing their possessions, themselves, and their opportunities. They see the new unique creation and their spirits naturally share this information with others. All heaven becomes excited to see this new thing from the Creator’s mind.

Think of the excitement of sharing and being shared with that awaits us in heaven. Sharing with one another now will just make it all that much more natural and wonderful in heaven. We should want our spirit in heaven to enjoy sharing, both giving and receiving.

No one is more generous than God. He will appreciate those of His people who are also very generous. When we get to heaven, God will want to be closer to those who shared most generously. At least, it sure seems He would.

Common ownership of things is not necessary if Christians willingly recognize that God owns everything. The Bible teaches that believers are stewards of what God owns and gives into their care. Then, Christians are to make those gracious, undeserved blessings available to one another out of generous love.

It takes selfless, biblical love to make others more important than our possessions so that we do not hold on to them too tightly. For example, when one of us owns a fairly new, reliable pickup and loans it out to other Christians when they need it, love goes beyond the pride of ownership and transitions into stewardship of something God made possible through His grace. By such actions, we show to God and outsiders watching that we value those in the family of faith more than a truck.

Rom 12:13 instructs, “Share with the Lord’s people who are in need.”

Since God doesn’t just want a few of His people to share, it is on all of our shoulders to see that everyone in our Christian Inner Circles advances in the spiritual growth of obedience in sharing. Friendships, families and marriages in relationship together with Jesus can implement biblical sharing in ways that will honor God to the maximum. These are the relationships where it will be mentioned, for example, that a family would like to go to a park and barbeque but needs a grill.

In the close relationships of our Christian Inner Circles, more is shared than material possessions. Children of single parents are taken for weekends to give the parent a rest. Trips to the theater include those who might be alone and otherwise have no one to go with. Books and DVDs are passed on. The list is extensive and includes the sharing of time, effort, money, material goods and encouragement. Even the sharing of our loved ones is required, as when we are more happy than disappointed when someone cannot do something with us at the last moment because of someone else’s urgent need.

Previously I have mentioned sharing our opportunities. For example, if one of us owns a boat, no one actually needs a boat ride unless there is a flood. However, there should be a charitable attitude to use that expensive possession for more than just our own pleasure and that of our family. Hopefully our Christian Inner Circles are not made up exclusively of well-to-do people. It would be more like the leading of Jesus to take a few poorer folks who would enjoy a boat ride. Then, sharing a day of boating with a poorer family or a disadvantaged kid would raise a sense of self-worth, give a fun experience never thought possible, or accomplish some other good thing.

It is our responsibility to see that everyone in our Christian Inner Circles shares at an active rather than passive level. It is the Lord’s wish, even command, that we all share. If those in our Christian Inner Circles mean that much to us, we don’t want them to disappoint God or miss out on benefits in heaven from not becoming great sharers this side of death.

For example, if we do not own a boat, but a Christian in our Christian Inner Circle does, we will probably hear Jesus ask us to spur our friend on to love and good deeds with his or her boat. We might say, “Jesus will probably want you to use that boat to give some less fortunate people a chance to do something they only dream of being able to do.”

What if what is needed is ourselves rather than our possessions or opportunities?

Perhaps we are 73 years old and in good health. Are we available to lend ourselves out to help a more feeble 63-year-old with some household task? We should recognize that our enduring health is because of God so that we can do whatever He wants us to do. Not sharing our good health with someone without good health is not the way of the kingdom of heaven on earth. Thankfully, such a situation will not exist in heaven.

Sharing is great worship because it reflects back to God His own generosity. What is the greatest thing that God has shared with us? Is it not His Son? Remember the great verse of John 3:16:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

What is the loss of a loaned post-hole digger destroyed or not returned if bonds with other Christians are strengthened through sharing and believers become more committed to one another? Those closer bonds and commitment coming from valuing people over a post-hole digger might later make possible helping a teenager in one family who goes astray or action that saves a marriage from divorce and family disaster.

Sharing destroys wrong values that take us further from heaven in this current life. Separating us from living for earthly things, sharing helps us remember that we do not belong to this world and are citizens of heaven. More than just waiting for heaven, we are now to have our hearts in heaven with Jesus. Col 3:1 says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.”

Sacrificial sharing takes us into heaven – at least in our minds and actions.