In that great chapter on faith, Hebrews 11, we read this very familiar verse:
“By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. ” (Hebrews 11:5)
Something dawned on me (I think it was yesterday), that I've always viewed this as a great blessing. And I think the reason for this is that we think it better to avoid death, which Enoch did. But ponder this--he left this earth way early! Enoch had lived less than half the years of his contemporaries. Then he was gone. Granted, he didn't die. But he didn't live long on earth either. Was that a blessing?
"But I Don't Want Heaven . . . YET!"
Why ask this question? Because if you were to ask most "Christians" today, "Are you looking forward to heaven," they might say "Yes." But many will likely answer, "I don't really think about it." They ignore the subject! What do you mean you "don't think about it?" How can a lover of Jesus Christ NOT think about being WITH Jesus Christ? Oh, did I mention . . . there's another question to ask so-called Christians. "What do you anticipate about heaven?" "Do you look forward to being with Jesus, talking with him, walking with him?" Then you get that sort of awkward look, like - "Don't I have someplace else I need to be right now?" Or you get a weak, "Yea, I guess so."
The very heart of Christianity is . . . well, . . . CHRIST! Right? But for many, not so much. At least not for many people who call themselves born-again believers. It seems a plethora of American believers are so wrapped up in THIS world that they cannot imagine the next to be an improvement--and an unbelievable one at that! Their treasures are here. To talk to them you'd have to re-write Hebrews 11:5, "By [lack of] faith [Joe 21st C. Christian] hated the thought of dying, and refused to be taken up even to avoid death, because he loved this world so much he couldn't imagine any benefit to being with Jesus." Really?? . . . REALLY!
The Real Issue
Enoch was promoted. It wasn't the not seeing death that was so attractive either (though not unimportant). But it was his living, breathing, loving relationship that he had had with God up to the point of his departure. If we were more attuned to Christ today, then we would be more enamored of heaven tomorrow. Our avoidance of the subject is in itself indicative of the paucity of serious consideration that we ever give to things eternal. This is to our own loss and immense detriment. Enoch pleased God. How? He walked with him--conversed and shared and listened and just plain enjoyed being together!
Do you enjoy being with God?
THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE CHRISTIAN'S LIFE. It is not just for a few "super" saints. It is what Christianity was intended to be all along. Let us confess our hardness of heart, our dullness of spirit -- in short, our faithless approach to God. Then develop that walk with God that longs for his presence more than for anything. "One thing have I desired of the Lord . . ." (Psalm 73:25). When this happens we will find with Enoch that the thought of heaven will not only be frequent, but it will be an unending blessing -- not a bummer!