There are two ditches you must avoid in order to stay faithful and make the most of your life.
The first ditch is to live as though heaven is all that matters, and our time spent here on earth is merely a period of waiting and preparation for life on the other side.
The glory of our eternal home is uplifting to ponder, but while we are on our way there we have an important task to perform. We are each called to play our part in subduing the earth where the Lord has us.
As N.T. Wright put it, “Heaven is important, but it’s not the end of the world.”
The second ditch we must avoid is to live thinking only about this world, without consideration of eternity.
Here the danger is forgetfulness of God. In forgetting God, we lose sight of why He put us in the world in the first place. And, if we forget Him, it will be reflected in our values as we live as though this world is all there is.
So, we must strike a balance, between the life to come and life in the here and now. Between the celestial and the terrestrial, between heaven and earth.
The way to find this balance is found in Jesus, who in His life bridges heaven and earth together.
When Jesus came, He said the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt.3:2). In Himself He brought heaven down to us, and it remains near as we partake of the new creation, seeking to ‘heavenize’ the world.
Because of this, we are to live with one eye on heaven and one eye on earth. On heaven, because it is there our hope is made sure. And on earth, because it is here we do the kingdom work God has assigned to us.
Throughout our pilgrimage we will be vulnerable to the ditch on either side.
We will be tempted to think only of heaven because such thinking lures us to escape our responsibilities on earth. Or, we will be tempted to think only of earth as it entices us with its passing pleasures.
Between these two dangers, Jesus calls us along the narrow way (Mt.7:14). And it’s in this way we have life, and bring that life to the world.
In Jesus we find the via media, or the middle way. Not a middle way of compromise, but the way of wisdom. The way of knowing how to live on earth according to eternal realities.
Again quoting N.T. Wright, with words that sum up the perspective we need to remember:
“We are not waiting to fly off to heaven one day, but heaven is breaking into our present circumstances with each passing moment.”
Keep looking to Jesus to know how you are to spend these passing moments.