Psalm 84

Psalm 84

How lovely is Your tabernacle,

O Lord of hosts!

My soul longs, yes, even faints

For the courts of the Lord;

My heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.

IMG_2857Even the sparrow has found a home,

And the swallow a nest for herself,

Where she may lay her young –

Even Your altars, O Lord of hosts,

My King and my God.

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house;

They will still be praising You.

IMG_2924Blessed is the man whose strength is in You,

Whose heart is set on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

They make it a spring;

The rain also covers it with pools.

They go from strength to strength;

Each one appears before God in Zion.

IMG_2948O Lord God of hosts, hear my prayer;

Give ear, O God of Jacob!

O God, behold our shield,

And look upon the face of Your anointed.

IMG_3032For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God

Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;

The Lord will give grace and glory;

No good thing will He withhold

From those who walk uprightly.

IMG_2841O Lord of hosts,

Blessed is the man who trusts in You!

The Most Earthly Good

You’ve probably heard the phrase, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re no earthly good.”  The point being that as Christians, we don’t want to be so focused on Heaven and being holy that we aren’t of any help to those around us here on Earth.

Look through Colossians chapter three, and note verse two:

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.”

The chapter talks about being made new by Christ.  We no longer are in sin, but are made alive by Him.  Therefore, we are to set our minds on things above; focus on Him and becoming more like Him.  He is the one who molds us to be merciful, kind, humble, meek, longsuffering, bearing with each other, and forgiving; He makes us loving and gives us peace (3:12-15).  We put off our old self, the self that lived for sin and was far away from Him — and put on the new self that He gives us through Christ’s sacrifice.

Looking at that list in Colossians, all those characteristics of God that He gives to us as He shapes us, tell me:  How is that no earthly good?  Unless we are made more like Christ, we will be no earthly good.  Why?  Jesus is the one who saves.  Humanity bound by sin is not free in Christ.  We need Christ to live; salvation comes through Him and Him alone.  No person is without need of Christ — not one.  If we are saved by Him and live as though being heavenly minded is no earthly good, we are deceiving ourselves.  As we learn about God, as we are shaped to be more like Him, we present testimonies to a world that is perishing.  We speak and act in ways that point back to Christ; people can look at us and see Christ.

One side of the phrase’s argument has weight — being so heavenly minded that we become ‘holier than thou’ and miss ministering to the people around us because we’re so fixated on making ourselves the best we can be, since God requires perfection.  Guess what?  Perfection isn’t up to us.  We can’t do it.  That’s what Christ is for.  His perfection is the only way we can be with God.  This is by no means an excuse to continue in sin, but realize this:  Perfection is not a requirement for Christ to be seen in a life.  It’s amidst sin that He comes and saves, and it’s throughout a life that He refines and sharpens.

The truth is that focusing on Him and becoming more like Him brings much earthly good.  It’s how people around us will see His power to change lives and heal, to break bonds and set free.

May we be so heavenly minded that we are the most earthly good. 

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.  Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and sincere, people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.

What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.

The good you do today will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.

In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

Mother Teresa