Rick was a phony! He was one of my instructors for a training class I attended at Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas. Rick may have been a phony, but he was also hilarious. I will never forget him telling the story of how he grew up near a river. There was a park on the river bank near his house. During the summer, there were many large family reunions held at that park. Rick and his brother would go to the park and mix in with the crowd. They would grab a plate and eat the barbecue and potato salad. Invariably, near the end of the weekend of reunion festivities someone would start corralling everyone together to take a reunion photo. Rick took great delight in sliding into those pictures of a family from which he shared no common blood.
Now while Rick was a phony to insert himself into those family reunion settings, I was not a phony when I attended my 30 year high school reunion in June. I earned the right to be at the reunion when I walked the stage at the graduation ceremony in 1980. I had attended Brewer High School for my entire 4 years of high school. I graduated 58th out of over 180 students. It was my right to be at the 30 year high school reunion we had last month in Fort Worth.
I love reunions. I especially look forward to the one I am going to have when I die. For when I die, only my body will be put into a box and dropped into a hole in the ground. You may cry at my funeral if you want. You can laugh as people share stories of my antics through life. But, understand that I will not be there. I will be in heaven.
Phonies like Rick the “reunion buster” won’t be in heaven. Phonies are people who have trusted in their good works for earning a place in heaven. Phonies are those folks who believe that their denomination will save them since their family heritage for generations have been aligned with that denomination. Phonies are those people who believe that all roads lead to heaven regardless of the belief system.
The only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. In today’s politically correct world, claiming Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation can get you branded as intolerant. But, please read the New Testament. You will find that those are the words of Jesus Christ. He didn’t come to earth as “a plan”…He came to earth as “God’s only plan”. Christianity is exclusive from all other man-made religions. A close examination of faiths other than Christianity will reveal they always have some system of performance or covenants of work where the actions of the human being are what earn them salvation. Christianity is different in that you cannot do anything to earn your salvation except to accept the gift of salvation that Jesus Christ gives you.
Be a believer, not a make-believer. There won’t be any phony’s in heaven. You might fake your way into a food line at a reunion as my friend did many times. But, you won’t be able to fake your way into heaven. There once was a southern gospel song entitled “Good Old Boys Don’t Make It Into Heaven”. The words were funny but they were also very poignant. Heaven is for those who are in relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s for those that have genuinely accepted Jesus Christ’s free gift of salvation. You can’t earn his salvation, because as humans we would boast about it. It’s all about Him.