A man comes here from another planet. He’s heard a lot about us; our passions, our evils, the things we do for fun and how we treat each other. But he’s never experienced our world for himself. When he gets here he sees that the two planets have a lot in common with the exception of one thing.
On this man’s planet, asphalt is king. Musicians write songs about it. People work themselves to death trying to get more of it. Thieves break in and steal in order to acquire it. Politicians get elected by promising to hand out more of it while at the same time hoping to acquire more of it for themselves. When it runs out, they conjure up ways to create it out of thin air.
On this man’s planet, it’s all about the almighty asphalt, baby.
“Another day, another pound of asphalt,” his friends tell one another at the end of a long day at work.
So imagine this man’s joy when he sees the abundance of asphalt on our planet. We’ve got roads made out of the stuff so he assumes that life on planet earth is one big party where asphalt is the main ingredient.
The man, overwhelmed with excitement, comes to you.
“I’ve never seen so much asphalt! I’m going to love it here.”
“Yes! It’s everywhere. What do your people do with all of it?”
“Well, let’s see. We drive on it. And that’s about it.”
You go on to tell him that you never really think that much about asphalt. He walks away confused.
When the Bible speaks of the streets of gold in the New Jerusalem, a lot of Christians get excited. We dream about living on a road made out of pure gold instead of one riddled with pot holes and roadkill stains.
But what if Jesus wasn’t just trying to tell us about the cool streets we’ll have in heaven? What if his revelation of the streets of gold was meant, in some small way, to expose our foolishness?
“Jesus, I’ve never seen so much gold. This is great!”
“Yes! It’s everywhere. What are we going to do with all of it?”
“Well, let’s see. You can walk around on it. And that’s about it. Here, we never really give it much thought.”
We miss the point of eternity if we think that it is all about mansions and streets of gold. The star of eternity is Jesus Christ. He will be our greatest joy then and he should be now too.
But too often, here on our planet, he isn’t. We are prone to chase after things that never really last. Things that don’t mean a whole lot in eternity.
Things like gold.
I think that’s one reason why there will be streets of gold in heaven. It’s Jesus reminding us that the things we tend to value so much here on earth won’t really matter in the next life. It’s his way of saying to us that the things we lust after and kill for will be nothing more than asphalt in the next life.