Word of the Day
It was a very small rural Church with an attendance of twenty-five to thirty on a real good Sunday morning. I don’t know if rural folks just have a habit of straggling in, or that because they are a small church, stragglers are more noticeable. It may be that larger churches have just as many stragglers, but because of their size, stragglers are not noticed as much.
Anyway, it was one of those Sundays when folks were really straggling. And in small churches, when that happens, you wait to get started, and that starting time is late, simply because you have to wait for enough to be there to get started. So, some of us were just talking, mainly killing time while we waited. Uncle Alvie Williams was a very quiet, reserved man, and he was just being himself that morning. While we chatted, he sat across the room, leaned back in his pew and, we thought, just listening.
After a few minutes, as if out of nowhere, he spoke up. “You know, it’s good to look back on a life that has been lived for God”, he commented. While we were not especially stunned at his statement, his statement just didn’t fit into the conversation. It was just out of nowhere, it seemed.
That was some fifty years ago, and many, many times through those years, I have gone over that comment in my mind. And now at my age(75 years of age), I think I understand what he meant. As we age, our perspective on many things in life changes, including our perspective on life, itself, and certainly on death. At my age, we stare our mortality in the face, realizing that there are far more days behind us than there are ahead of us.
So, we think differently as we age. A friend of mine stated it very well, I think. “I don’t look on death the way I once did. I dreaded even thinking about it. But, now, I just look on death as being just one more chapter in life”. I think that is very well stated and is probably true about most folks my age.
But what does this have to do with Heaven, you ask? Good question. Years age, like most young people I was immortal, invincible and never gave much thought about death, except when I was called on to officiate at the funeral of an old person. But, now, I face the reality of death with every passing day. There are many, many tombstones in the local cemetery that mark the grave of one much younger than I.
So, death is real to me. And also eternity is becoming very real to me. Is there something out there after death that I can’t see now? There has to be! If what I have lived these past seventy-five years is all that there is to it, then life is a total waste. There has to be something out there for the one who has “lived for God” that I can’t see or hear or touch at this juncture, and the Bible describes that something as “Heaven”.
Just what is this place the Bible describes as “Heaven”? The Bible gives us many descriptive passages about it, but yet because of the limitation of my mind, I have real trouble fully grasping these passages. We have verses that describe “streets of gold”, “walls of jasper”, mansions, the “river of life” and on and on. Because of our selfish humanity, these passages attract our attention and we focus on speculating on them. What is a “street of pure gold”? What does it mean that there are “walls of jasper”? What are those “mansions” and what are they like? Your guess is as good as mine, even though you may not be nearly as old as I am.
As fascinating and as majestic as these things are, are they what make Heaven real? Is that all that Heaven is? Or is there something else; something more real and meaningful? Is there another attraction that Heaven holds that surpasses these material things?
Yes, a thousand times, YES!! While these attractions appeal to our selfish nature(who doesn’t want the wealth that these represent?), they are not the “main event”!
When we enter that wonderful City, New Jerusalem, there will be an attraction that will cause all others to dim dramatically. When we enter through those majestic gates, we will behold a scene that will literally take our breath away. There in the midst of all this wonderful beauty that is called “Heaven” will be a Throne, on which sits the King of kings, the Lord of all lords! He will be adorned in such royalty our minds will never be able to comprehend. And around that Throne will be gathered untold multitudes of saints from all the ages. O, what a scene that will be! We will be in the same crowd as the Abrahams, the Isaacs, the Elijahs, the Davids, the Peters, the Johns and all such from every age of human history. WE will be able to join THAT crowd as they worship this One, as they cast their crowns at His feet, we will, also; as they join the angels in the worship of this One, we will, also! “We will see Him as He is…(I John 3:1,2), and we will be like Him! And to think, this is for all eternity that we will behold Him!
WHAT A DAY THAT WILL BE!!!