What makes heaven such a great place to be? How does the Lord God provide that it never gets boring, forever? What do the people who are there do for all that time?
Eternal happiness consists in doing things that are useful, things that make a difference for other people. Angels are blessed with happiness when they help other people be happy. Angels serve the Lord and their neighbors in many ways. The apostle John saw armies of angels following the Lord to help defend heaven (Rev. 19:14). The Lord in a parable told of Abraham comforting the poor man Lazarus after he died and was received into heaven, and explaining things to the rich man in hell (Luke 16:19-31). Psalm 91:11 says, “He shall give His angels charge over you, to protect you in all your ways.”
In the parable of the talents, the Lord praised the servant who had made good use of the five talents entrusted to him and gained five more, saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things; I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” (Matthew 25:21) It’s not that we earn a reward for our own goodness. As Jesus said, “No one is good but One: God.” (Mark 10:18) But when we avoid idleness or sloppy work and instead concentrate on doing a faithful job, because our Father asks us to, then we allow the Lord to work through us and to share His happiness with us.
The Lord says, “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to everyone according to his work” (Revelation 14:13). The heavenly reward is not a payback for our works. The Lord’s reward is the feeling of satisfaction and happiness of doing a good job, doing work that we love and seeing that it helps someone else.
In Revelation 14:13 it says, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.” ’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow with them.’ ” In heaven we will have rest from the laborious aspects of life, especially the struggle not to do what’s wrong and to do what’s right. And the work we enjoy follows with us. A person who has spent his or her life in this world living a useful life, doing the daily work and treating others honestly and faithfully, comes to love being of service. The love of serving our neighbor and our God stays with us as we cross into the life after death and continues to bless us.
May the Lord grant you a very fruitful summer, and may it be good preparation for a useful life in heaven. You are always welcome to worship at the New Church, 10:00 a.m. on Sundays.
Rev. Lawson M. Smith