“Heavenly Minded”

My wife and I have an ongoing discussion over whether I am oblivious or merely focused; a daydreamer or a deep thinker.   This usually surfaces after I ask her when a building I hadn’t noticed before was constructed, and she replies, “About two years ago.”  A popular saying, although not biblical, says, “Some people are so heavenly minded that they are (of) no earthly good.” Oliver Wendell Homes, Sr.  Several writers have replied that it is because one is heavenly minded that they can be (of) earthly good.  These writers argue that the quote seems to imply that there is a time to let earthly common sense take over from a spiritually directed life.  They quote 1 Corinthians 3:18ff and Colossians 3:2 to substantiate their claim.

As always it seems best to examine the life of Christ and how He reacted to the daily opportunities and challenges we all face, as a model for our behavior (Heb 4:14-15).  Jesus consistently prayed to His Father (Mt 14: 23) (Mt 26-29).  He knew the Old Testament scriptures well (Mt 22:29) (Mt 24:27&45) and read them publicly in the synagogue at Nazareth (Lk 4:16-21).  He taught spiritual truths and recited parables and sermons to His disciples (Mt 5: 1ff) (Mt 10:24-42) (Mt 13:3-9).  And yet he always had time to comfort and heal the needy (Mt 8: 14-17) (Mt 6: 1-4).

Jesus talks at length about His close bond with His heavenly Father (Jo 14: 7-24) (Jo 15: 1-2).  In many of these same verses Jesus stresses the earthly good that His followers could do by using the Counselor (Holy Spirit) to produce good fruit (Jo 14:16, 26) (Gal 5:25) (Eph 3:16).  This heavenly power that lives within Christians allows them to do “immeasurably more than we ask or imagine” here in this earthly existence (Eph 3:20).  But as Keith R. Krell has said, “Why would God give dynamite to someone who can’t handle a firecracker?”  So, while we are to, “Set your hearts on things above, not on earthly things” (Col 3:2) we are also commanded to , “…spur one another on towards love and good deeds” for the glory of God (Heb 10:24).

–Jim Bailey