Imagine a city so loaded with gold and gems they become standard building materials. Add other precious metals and stones to the mix and just marvel. It’d be palatial, decadent, … God-like?
“Streets of gold” is a phrase probably rooted in a bible passage on heaven: “… The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass…” (Revelation 21:21)
But I don’t care if it’s true or not. The real question for me is: What good is all that Gold??
In a world rampant with greed, injustice, and “have’s” with little care for the “have not’s,” it’s easy to wonder if there even is a God in this mess, and if so, does *He care.
Is Heaven really about Bling?
If we’re trying to uncover God’s heart, there may be some surprising reasons for those golden streets:
1. We’re All Royalty
Throughout history gold was always accorded with royalty. The foretold abundance in Heaven may therefore highlight our identity (and thus divinity) as sons and daughters of God– after all, if “God” is your Father/Mother/Parent, what does that make you?
Even Jesus received gold among the three mysterious gifts at his birth. It’s fitting for kings and maybe that’s why we’re so fascinated (or obsessed), with it. But if we realize we’re already kings, won’t our perspective change?
God has always pleaded with us to focus on people not things…
2. Glory is available to Everyone
Wealth can spark elitism. Certain people of certain social standings may only travel in certain circles, drive certain cars, visit certain restaurants, shops, cities… Without the inequalities of wealth, there’d be no need for eg. “first class” on planes and trains.
If Jesus was showing us God in flesh, we can’t imagine *Him ever flying first class. After all, he identified and associated more with the vagabond, refugee, prostitute, than a king.
Abundance of gold (wealth, status) can make the possessors feel they’ve achieved a bit more “glory” then the next guy, but in a place where gold is so common it’s on the streets, nothing could be further from the truth.
In Heaven the gold is free for all to tread on, thus possess. If it’s under our feet there, what does that say about it’s importance here?
(click to tweet)
For any Bible geeks, the Old Testament says God doesn’t share *His Glory with anyone (Isaiah 42:8), but through the revelation of Jesus in the New Testament, we get a fuller picture: ‘I share my glory with all of you’ (John 17:22).
Ask any loving parent: don’t you want your kids to have the same or even better than you? Don’t you want them to achieve higher, have no limits…? The kids should always shine brighter than us… (click to tweet)
3. Heaven isn’t about wealth or stuff, but what really matters in life.
“The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking (stuff), but of righteousness (goodness, no injustice or hurting of other), peace, and joy” (Romans 14:17, adds in parenthesis mine).
The world is focused on the accumulation of wealth and titles, having the biggest and best. When material is our aim, we can lose sight of what really matters: heart, helping others (seeing them is a good starting point), and justice for all, not just those who can afford it or have the power to speak up for it.
If the Person responsible for Heaven is Love, isn’t that then what really matters?
Not blinded by bling.
I asked a young woman once what her life dream was. Without flinching she said, “To be a millionaire.” I was startled. Really? Aren’t our lives worth more than money? But with movies and media promoting it daily, it can be hard to find another way.
Compassion as a Compass
Don’t let status or possessions blind, aka fool you. In the end, goodness and glory are intended for all– even the person cleaning toilets or sweeping streets is Royalty.
The world truly is upside down. Don’t stop fighting to right it.
*Him: I use “He”and “His” as simple pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female “identity,” for lack of a better word, as demonstrated throughout the Bible and most blatantly through mankind. For more, check this post: Transgender God, or let this letter from Glennon Doyle rock your world.
-Cover image: Gold Trump Tower: Neonbrand image 273535 via Unsplash
-Solid-gold Toilet, “America” by Maurizio Cattelan, for actual use in the Guggenheim Museum rest room (NYC). Pic by uDodie Kazanjian (via The New Yorker ( https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/gold-toilet)
-Gold painted hand, Muillu image 447086 via Unsplash
-Whatever you did for the least of these pic, scripture from Matthew 25:40.., image by Toby Mac #SpeakLife
-Grafitti: Some people are so poor all they have is money, sourced via Flickr.
-Shining on the water, image sourced here.
-Everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart.. quote by Jim Carrey, image created by me @JasNotes for Heart in Formation, pls link my site if you use it, thanks! <3
-Lantarns & Reflections image: Gian D via Unsplash
Thank you for yet another thought-provoking post. The theme indeed is one for the ages… trying to live a righteous life in a wealth-conscious/posessed world. Your posts always help me think about what’s really important:
making one’s holy grail the wellbeing of people rather than greed, and the quest for materialism. Thanks again for shining the light in the right direction and onto what matters most.
Also: I find your graphics/infographs to always be super interesting and at times riveting. Thanks!
Thanks always for your encouraging words & insights!
I hope to keep the posts coming in 2019. Feel free to share them along.