April 12, 2013
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Visit the old section of a cemetery and you’ll see very few flowers. No one remembers a person buried in a very old grave. Anyone who remembered that person is also long dead, and even the person that remembered that person. All of the sacrifices made for others, all of the work and toil — what was it for? Some people would say that we in some small way help humanity for generations to come. However, the reality is — from a humanist point of view — that someday humanity will be extinct. It may happen by an asteroid’s wiping out the earth, by a nuclear holocaust, or by the sun’s eventually becoming a giant red star and burning out life on Earth. Even fleeing to another planet is only a temporary solution until some other cosmic disaster happens or the universe grows cold and dark.
If there’s no life beyond this one, life is truly hopeless. Anything we do is only momentary. But Jesus said, “Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19) We have the opportunity to be loved by God, love God back, love others, and do His kingdom work forever! But, according to Holy Scripture, eternity is being built on what we do here and now. It’s all important, and it has eternal ramifications! If we don’t want anything to do with God in this lifetime, God lets us have our way for all of eternity. This hellish existence away from God is called exactly that in the Bible: hell. On the other hand, if we decide to center this life around God and His Son Jesus, we get to enjoy the ramifications of that for all of eternity — and that’s a heavenly experience: what the Bible calls heaven. These few years set the course for all of eternity.
Someone wrote, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Who we seek to be for Jesus and what we seek to do for Him will have eternal results! His resurrection gives us that hope!
“Because I live, you also will live.” (John 14:19)
October 31, 2011
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I’ve officiated at over 400 funerals during my ministry, so I’ve heard many a conversation about the deceased. I’ve often been amazed at what excites people about heaven. They’ll say about their deceased loved one, “Now Harry’s up there playing golf with his ol’ buddy Bill,” or “I bet Aunt Henrietta is having a blast playing cards with Aunt Gertrude.” As I stand there, looking very pastoral, and listening to such conversation, I’m thinking, You’ve got to be kidding! Is that the best heaven has to offer: a golf game or card game?
The best thing about heaven is that God’s there and when we get to heaven we get to be there with Him! Sure, we can also look forward to being reunited with family and friends who also have yearned to be with God and have sought to serve Him while here on Earth. We can look forward to being liberated from illness, pain, and suffering of all kinds. But by very definition there is nothing bigger and better than God so we should look forward to being with Him most of all.
I’ll admit that being with God isn’t always the first thing I think about when I think of being in heaven, so I shouldn’t be too judgmental of those who dream of golf and card games in heaven. I’m determined, though, to aim at having my deepest satisfaction be in God and in God alone. After all, it’s God in heaven that makes heaven so heavenly. God’s the best part of heaven!
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (Jesus in John 14:2-3)