It’s an old expression and I don’t know who coined it, but what I do know is that it’s got problems. It goes like this “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly good.” Even when I was a new believer I knew it didn’t sound right, but I didn’t know why. What is being communicated through this expression? It takes a shot at people who claim to love God, spend a lot of time praying and meditating on heavenly realities, but then fail to connect their faith with real life so that they don’t help people and love them practically. I know people like this and at times I act like this, but it’s not because I am becoming more heavenly-minded, it’s because I’m not heavenly-minded enough. The expression makes it sound like we should not strive after knowing God more or else we’ll automatically estrange ourselves from society and become the proud owner of fifteen cats.
In reality, according to the Bible, the more heavenly-minded we are, the more earthly good we will be! Why? Because as we know God more through studying the Bible we see that He desires to be served through our service to others and commands us to do so. True heavenly-mindedness leads us to obey God by making disciples and teaching them all that Christ commanded (Matthew 28:19-20), visiting orphans and widows (James 1:26), providing people with physical necessities (James 2:15-16), comforting others in their affliction (2 Corinthians 1:4), and a ton of other practical examples of doing good on earth. If we spend much time in prayer and Bible study with little time helping others and serving them sacrificially, then there is a problem with our thinking… we’re not thinking like God even if our actions are perceived by some as holy.