OCCUPATIONS IN HEAVEN bases on Rev. 22:1-5
By Glenn Pease
The story is told of a man who died and found himself in a region of fabulous abundance.
His slightest wish was instantly granted.
At last, however, the novelty wore off and he became bored.
He told his host he would love to do something.
Was there any work he could perform, or any problem he could help solve?
His host said, "I am sorry, but there is no work to be done here."
"No work!" cried the man in frustration.
"Nothing to do!" he shouted.
"I would rather be in hell than have nothing to do forever."
His host replied, "Just where do you think you are?"
The hell of hell will be nothing to do.
There will be no labor of love, no purpose to being, no goals to achieve, and no expressions of creativity.
Hell will be a state of perpetual unemployment.
Dorothy Sayers, the great female apologist for Christianity, said, "Damnation is without direction or purpose.
It has nothing to do and all eternity to do it in."
In contrast, heaven will be a place, not only of eternal enjoyment, but of eternal employment.
When God made Adam, He made him a creature of creativity, with a desire to work.
He gave him a job, to keep the garden of Eden, and to study the animal kingdom, so he could give all the animals names.
Adam was made a botanist and zoologist the day he was created.
God made man to study and to have dominion over his environment.
He gave him both physical and mental work, for both are vital to the joy of living.
It is a logical conclusion that God will give even more exciting and satisfying jobs to His children in the eternal paradise.
Certainly, his perfected saints will be ready for greater labors than even Adam ever dreamed about.
This has been the universal hope of believers down through the centuries.
They expect to serve God in a way that satisfies the built in desires God has given them to be creative.
Robert J. Burdette, expressed the faith of many when he wrote, " My work is about ended.
I think the best of it I have done poorly; any of it I might have done better; but I have done it.
And in a fairer land, with finer material and a better working light, I shall so a better work."
The poet adds these words,
I cannot think of Paradise a place
Where men go idly to and fro,
With harps of gold and robes that shame the snow;
With great wide wings that brightly interlace
Whenever they sing before the Master's face---
Within a realm where neither pain nor woe,
Nor care is found; where tempests never blow
Where souls with hopes and dreams may run no race.
Such paradise were but a hell to me;
Devoid of all progression, I should rot,
Or shout for revolution, wide and far.
Better some simple task, a spirit free
To act along the line of self forgot--
Or help God make a blossom or a star.
It is intolerable for Christians to believe, that rest from the battle with evil, means an everlasting idleness.
Can that be the goal of all God's work, and all the cooperative labors of man?
To be saved to spend eternity in idleness, just when we finally gain what we need to be most effective, is inconsistent with the nature of God's wisdom.
Better that we be left sinful and imperfect beings, who love serving our Lord, than to be perfected for the sake of inactivity and unproductive idleness.
We can understand the hope for rest from life's battles, and that is a legitimate concept of heaven, but in our new bodies we will not need rest.
We only need rest for what we endure now, and that is why the poet has written,
There once was a woman who always was tired
She lived in a house where no help was hired.
On her death bed she said, dear friends I am goin
Where washing aint done nor cookin nor sewin,
And everything there will be just to my wishes,
For where they don't eat there's no washin of dishes.
Don't mourn for me now, don't mourn for me ever,
For I'm goin to do nothin, forever and ever.
We can understand her desire to escape from the burdens of life, and that is a part of our heavenly hope.
But to do nothing for ever and ever, is certainly not a worthy ambition for a child of God.
Our ultimate hope ought to be, to do more for the glory of God in our perfected bodies, than we ever could in the weakness of our earthly bodies.
The question is, what will we do in heaven?
What kinds of jobs will be available?
What sort of service will be needed?
In order to get the best possible answers to these questions, we need to look at heaven from two perspectives.
We need to look at Revelation and it's implications.
First lets look at-
We need to listen to what God tells us in His Word, about the activities of heaven.
Here in Rev. 22:3, the redeemed in heaven are called servants, and in Rev. 7:15, they are also called servants.
It says there, "Therefore, they are before the throne of God and serve Him day and night within His temple."
These two verses have had a profound impact on Christian thinking about heaven.
If the redeemed are called servants, and they worship and serve God, and they reign for ever and ever, as verse 5 says, then we get a picture of heaven as a place of perpetual motion and never ceasing activity.
Billy Graham, commenting on the significance of the title of servant, attached to the saints in heaven, said, "I believe that means we are going to work."
We need to see this, not as a threat, but as a promise.
It is said that Thomas A'Kempis when a youth, studied the book of Revelation with a group of other young men.
At the end of the course the teacher asked each member of the class to quote his favorite promise of no night, no pain, no death, and others.
But when A'Kempis came to answer he said that his favorite promise was "His servants shall serve him."
Charles Spurgeon, who gave much thought to being servants in heaven, wrote, "What engagements we may have throughout eternity we are not told, because we have enough to do to fulfill out engagements now; but assuredly we shall be honored with errands of mercy and tasks of love fitted for our heavenly being; and I doubt not it shall be one of our greatest delights while seeing the Lord's face to serve him with all our perfected powers.
He will use us in the grand economy of future manifestations of his divine glory.
Possibly we may be to other dispensations what the angels have been to this.
Be that as it may, we shall find a part of our bliss and joy in constantly serving him who has raised us from the dead."
There shall we see, and hear, and know,
All you desired or wished below,
And every power find sweet employ
In that eternal world of joy.
The phrase in the Lord's Prayer, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, is another clear light of revelation that tells us heaven is a place where God's will is being done perfectly.
With countless numbers of angels, plus the saints of the ages, there is always plenty to do, for God has a need for infinite service.
Moses and Elijah, you recall, were assigned the task of breaking back into history to comfort Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration.
What they did for many centuries before this, and the many since, we do not know, but the point is, they had a job to do for God, and it is not likely this was the only job God had for them for all the centuries they have been in heaven.
We are not trying to say that the saints in heaven are being driven from one task to another like slaves, but that there is never one moment of boredom in heaven.
There is always something to do that is filled with meaning.
12:1, says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, as we run the Christian race.
It is almost universally agreed upon that this represents the redeemed in heaven who know what is happening here on earth, and are cheering us on as we run the race for the glory of Christ.
Wide World Of Saints is on 24 hours a day for those in heaven.
Jesus in the Parable of the Nobleman tells of how he went on a long journey, and left ten servants with ten pounds to trade with while he was gone.
When he returned, the one servant had made ten pounds from his one, and Jesus said the nobleman responded, "Well done good servant, you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities."
The one who made five pounds was made ruler over five cities, and the one who buried his money, lost it all.