The day of our Lord’s return is known to no one but the Father.
And when it arrives, all humanity will be there. Darkness and Light will part forever. There will be glory on this earth.
There is also a Big Day which for many of us is a near certainty: the day we leave our bodies behind and “cross over the Jordan”.
Any life spent unaware of this day is the life of a fool.
“And [Jesus] told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’” (Luke 12:15-20 ESV).
There are those who are convinced that the day of our death is the end of everything. “When you’re dead, you’re dead. So get all the gusto you can while you’re alive.” And there are those who believe that everyone who dies ends up in a “better place.”
Hitler is in a better place?
Dead tyrants are in a better place?
There are those who see death as the beginning of Purgatory. A place where our spirits get cleaned up through suffering.
But Jesus keeps it simple.
He tells the thief dying beside him,
“Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43 ESV).
Jesus tells us to “use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings” (Luke 16:9 NIV).
In his parable of The Rich Man and Lazarus, Jesus describes a realm divided by a vast chasm. Lazarus the beggar dies and is lifted to a place of peace in the presence of Abraham. Across the chasm the spirit of the dead rich man is in anguish, suffering in flames (of sadness and regret?)
Jesus prays for his disciples the night of his arrest…
…“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world” (John 17:24 NIV).
According to Jesus each of us, at death, will await the resurrection at the place assigned to us by God. If we have lived our lives under the power of his Cross, the Master has prepared a place for us.
“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also” (John 14:1).
So how do we get ready for the Big Day?
- By living each day in the light of Eternity.
- By walking in the footsteps of the Master here in this realm of flesh and blood.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (John 17:3 NIV).
If I truly know God, if I know the Son, I will walk the eternal road God puts at my feet.
- I will walk with God.
- I will follow Jesus to my cross.
- I will trust God in all things.
- I obey the Master in all things
- I will serve God wherever he puts me.
- I will focus on the “one thing needful”: God’s Kingdom.
If this is my day-by-day life, I’m ready for the Big Day whenever it comes.
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand” (John 10:27,28 NIV).
Written by REB, November, 2021.