It’s time for a little honest confession: I don’t like the artwork of Thomas Kinkade. I have trouble relating to what’s going on in his pictures. Each painting seems to contain at least one of the following items: a bubbling brook, a perfectly constructed stone bridge, a snowy meadow, and a house so brightly lit that it must either be on fire or illuminated by 400-watt light bulbs. Thomas Kinkade paintings feel a bit unreal to me.
But this doesn’t seem to bother the millions of people who buy Kinkade paraphernalia by the boatload. Manufacturers have been able to fit his pictures onto almost every conceivable surface – paintings, magnets, mugs, Bible covers. What causes this frenzy? Why are there so many zealous Kinkade collectors?
My guess is that people are drawn to Kinkade’s depiction of an ideal home. The paintings touch our longing for a permanent, beautiful place to call home.
I believe this desire is from God. We were made for a place, a permanent, beautiful place. A place that makes Thomas Kinkade landscapes look like inner-city garbage dumps. That place is heaven.
Heaven is the place for which we were made. All the delights we experience on earth are tiny echoes of the delights that pulse through heaven. Until we get to heaven, we are out of place.
Our citizenship in heaven has implications for how we live now. In 1 Peter 2:11 we read, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” We’re aliens living in a foreign country, waiting to return to our homeland. This truth should compel us to make war against the sinful desires that make war against us. The prospect of our heavenly home should compel us to declare holy war on the discontentment in our hearts.
When we’re discontent, we’re forgetting that heaven awaits us. Your futile house projects are a reminder that you’re not home yet. Your constant battle with depression is a reminder that soon the gloom will lift. Your frustration with your job is a reminder that soon you’ll be able to enjoy work as you were always meant to do. The strife that now rips at your family is a reminder that the King of Peace will soon destroy all sin.
Don’t misunderstand. God wants us to experience contentment right now, in the midst of our house projects, depression, bad jobs, and strife. It’s right and good to ask God to deliver us from each of these situations. But we can’t stake our ultimate hope on deliverance, because even if we’re delivered from one trial, another will soon come our way. Our ultimate hope is in Jesus and His place. When we’re in heaven, the battle will be over. Contentment will not be a struggle. Peace, pleasure, and joy will take the day. But until that day we need to fight. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves trying to make a home out of a place that was never intended to be our home. We’ll pour our energy, time, and thought into trying to find satisfaction on earth rather than being content with what we have and looking forward to eternity.
I haven’t yet learned to be content in all circumstances, but I’m fighting. I’m fighting because I know this isn’t my home. I was made for Jesus, and I was made for Heaven. And so were you.
- Pastor Sanders
Would you say that you long for heaven? If not, why not? If so, what fuels your longing?
What does it mean that you were made for heaven? How should that affect the way you live on earth?