Last night I was carrying a laundry basket weighing approximately twenty-one pounds up the stairs, dramatically heaving it onto each step ahead of me. I said it to myself, but loud enough that my husband could hear: “I can not WAIT until I don’t have to do this anymore.”
Colby, who was following behind me carrying his kindle, looked up and responded, “Do what?” (He had just gone grocery shopping, so let’s not be too hard on him for the obvious here).
“You know…laundry, dishes…housework.” It was pretty clear to me.
“And when exactly is this happening…this cessation from all work?” I think his kindle was off now, the conversation obviously more engaging.
“You know…In heaven.” Duh.
He laughed out loud. “You’re going to be PRETTY SURPRISED when you get to heaven and realize you still have to do housework.”
“Whatever….I don’t believe you.” I heaved the basket onto the seventh step.
“I can’t see any reason why you wouldn’t still have work to do..only in heaven, you’ll have a new heart and a new attitude with which to do it.”
I stopped mid-heave. Hmmm…now there was a new thought.
“But…WORK? In heaven?” I had seen too many lithographs, most of which (apparently) promoted bad theology.
“Well, sure…what else are you going to do there?” We were on the eleventh step now, and my swollen, pregnant ankles were resisting the thought of an eternity full of ANYTHING requiring me to be on my feet.
“Ummm…sit on my front porch and talk to old friends? Ask God all my questions? Go for long runs without fatiguing. Ski on mountains of diamond snow…”
“Okay…There will be an aspect of heaven, though, that involves work. There’s nothing inherently bad or evil about work. God gave Adam work to do in the garden before he sinned. The difference was… after the fall, the work became toilsome.” I punctuated his sentence by dumping the whole basket of laundry over on our bed.
As I sorted the clothes into five piles, I started imagining–out loud– writing books in a land where writer’s block didn’t exist, where inspiration flowed like milk and honey. (Colby of course disagreed with this idea and challenged me to think of writer’s block as something that would still exist in heaven because it wasn’t inherently bad and would provide for moments of great euphoria when conquered). I sighed, but we continued with our thought experiment. I thought of how fun it would be to plant a garden where thorns weren’t invited or to compose songs without fear or any preoccupation with self.
The laundry eventually got folded that night. And as it did, I wondered what kind of clothes we would all wear in heaven. Would we even need clothes…glorified bodies and all? I thought about the chopping of vegetables, the pots and pans, the stain sticks in eternity… and having a new heart that wouldn’t be tempted to complain about it all. Doing all the same tasks with JOY and CONTENTMENT. Huh…It was almost as if I could experience a little bit of heaven NOW if I just learned how to die to my selfishness and work joyfully as unto the Lord. I went to bed that night kind of excited to wake up the next morning and practice.
Author’s Note: Some books that may be helpful in thinking about this are “Heaven” by Randy Alcorn, “Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Michael Whitmer, and “Resurrection of the Son of God” by NT Wright (that one was Colby’s recommendation…it’s over 700 pages…good luck).