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Heaven Is Not a Retirement Home

Last school year, I had the privilege of teaching Bible to a group of 9th and 10th graders who truly had a blessed curiosity for the Word of God. One of the best classroom policies we all agreed on was that students were allowed to ask Bible questions anonymously so they would never be embarrassed to ask what was on their hearts.

While grading their classwork one evening, tucked in between the papers was a little note with a big question written on it:  

“Ms. Mitchell, what work will we have to do in Heaven?”

To this day I do not know which student asked that question, but I love it. It shows that this particular student has been reading scripture through eternity-colored glasses. 

Believe it or not, work is a consistent theme in Scripture. Back in Genesis 2, we are told that God put Adam in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. This command to work came before sin and before the fall of mankind. Work in the Garden was not a punishment.  

We get it. Who hasn’t felt the satisfaction of a good day’s work? We were created for it. Even Jesus told us in John 5:17 that God the Father is always working, and so is He. The frustration and fatigue that we sometimes experience in association with work did not crop up until after the fall. 

Not only is work not a punishment, we can draw from the Word of God that work will carry over into eternity. In the parable of the talents in Matthew 25, when Jesus describes what the Kingdom of God will be like, he tells of three men who were entrusted with three different sums of money while the master was away. The two men who went to work and doubled the amounts they originally received are told that because of their faithfulness in a little, they will be set over much.  

Because Jesus is explaining the Kingdom of God to His listeners, this is what we have to grasp: Jesus is coming to set up a kingdom, not a retirement home. He does not tell this faithful servants, “Thanks for your hard work. Now take eternity off.”

In a kingdom, work has to be done. It appears that our assignments in the coming Kingdom of Christ will be directly related to our faithfulness to Him in this life. In Heaven, Jesus followers can fully give themselves to the work of the Lord, knowing that not one labor of love will be in vain. What hope we have in that thought! Nothing is wasted. Not one thing we do for our Savior goes unnoticed. 

So what specific jobs will we have? We’ll keep looking at what God’s Word has to say.  

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