Heaven's Unemployed

, by Christopher D. Hudson

I’ve heard that someone once e-mailed Billy Graham the following note: “To be honest, I’m not even sure I want to go to Heaven. It sounds so boring, just sitting around on a cloud doing nothing.” I always admired Dr. Graham for offering clear and practical answer. I’m sure that in this case he helped the person understand that such views of eternity are based on images from popular culture. Nowhere does the Bible say we will be assigned individual clouds to sit on or harps to play. Instead, passages such as Revelation 22:3 suggest that in heaven we will be given the opportunity to do what we were created to do: serve God.

In heaven our service will not be hindered by distractions, boredom, disinterest or exhaustion. We can and will serve him forever – and we will find deep satisfaction and purpose in our service.

The unique nature of heaven and its inhabitants will affect the kind of service God requires. Certain types of ministry that are essential in this life – evangelism, to name just one – will be unnecessary in the next. I know that irony was not lost on Billy Graham and his staff. Dr. Graham was fond of telling the story of how his longtime song leader Cliff Barrows would kid him about having a job in heaven while Dr. Graham would be unemployed. With a twinkle in his eye, Barrows would explain that worship leaders will likely be in high demand in heaven. After all, someone has to direct those heavenly choirs! The need for preachers, on the other hand, would seem to be nonexistent.

“I assured him that I wasn’t worried about it,” Dr. Graham explained, “because I was confident God would find something else for me to do. He might, I added, even change me into a choir director!

An edited version of this article will appear in my book Heaven & Hell: Are They Real (February, 2014).


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