Some things seem to painfully last forever. Try singing “American Pie” karaoke style with 4 bad singers. That was the longest 7 minutes of my life. Or try sitting through a concert or speech with malfunctioning sound equipment. And, of course the seemingly never ending cell phone contract. You make just one change to that contract and the time starts over.
Then there are the things that you wish could last forever. Summers during the growing up years, a wonderful date with a girl you care a lot about or visits to grandma’s house all come to mind. But, invariably those “moments to remember” always end.
In this life, things are never permanent. When you drive down old state highways, you can see houses overgrown by foliage. There are old gas stations with vacant fueling islands and shards of glass still in the window facings. When passing these “ghost” houses and gas stations, I wonder about the stories behind them. In days gone by, there was a proud homeowner or an entrepreneur excited about the prospects of being in business for themselves. Yet, 30, 40 or 50 years later these facilities stand as a haunting reminder that life on this earth is transitory.
At Thanksgiving, my fiancé and I went to visit New Albany, MS. We drove around Union County and Sheri pointed out different places she had lived. She showed me the gravesites of Rev. Ernest and Altha Mae Rakestraw; her “unofficial” foster parents and pastor. I wondered about his ministry career as I stood there on that cold blustery day. I mused about what kind of an impact he had on people. I speculated on the different people that are in heaven today because he took the time to invest in their lives and lead them to faith in Christ. Yet, the gravestone in that cemetery stood in front of us as a stark reminder that this life is not permanent.
There will come a day when someone will open a family Bible or pull open a drawer in a dresser to find a yellowed piece of newsprint. They will read down through the article to find that a guy named Tony Barnes wrote a column for the NAS News. They too may stand and wonder about the impact that Tony had on his readers. Likewise, it will serve as a reminder to them that life is temporary.
Regardless of how fleeting this life may seem, every human ever born on this earth has eternal life. There are two destinations. We typically think of hell as being a place for evil people. Its easy to surmise that the Adolph Hitlers and the Joseph Stalins of the world are likely in hell. But, the truth of the matter is that there are some
“good old boys” that are spending an eternity separated from God. There are some sweet little old ladies that did not go to heaven.
Only those that have accepted the free gift of salvation and committed their lives to Jesus Christ’s leadership will be in heaven. There is no list of accomplishments that must be “checked off” to go to heaven. No ritual exists that is an induction into eternal life. Entry to heaven is based upon the question, “What did you do with Jesus Christ”? If you have accepted His gift of salvation and entered into relationship with Him, you are saved and will spend eternity in heaven. This life will end. But, instead of a sad event for the Christian it is a graduation into an eternal inheritance. There’s nothing sad about that.