2000-03-28 - A Story and a Comment
Proverbs 23:4, 5 Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings, like and eagle that flies toward the heavens.
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him. An angel heard his plea and appeared to him. "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you."
The man begged the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules. The man continued to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappeared and informed the man that God had decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathered his largest suitcase and filled it with pure gold bars and placed it beside his bed.
Soon afterward he died and showed up at the Gates of Heaven to greet St. Peter. St. Peter, seeing the suitcase, said, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!" The man explained to St. Peter that he had permission and asked him to verify his story with the Lord.
Sure enough, St. Peter checked, came back and said, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through." St. Peter opened the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and exclaimed, "You brought pavement?"
There are many obvious theological problems with this story, but the key point and moral message is simple and true. We often set our affections and desires in the wrong place. Here on earth we may not have ease and rest as much as we might like, but heaven awaits where we shall have our rest.
In heaven all things will be taken care of for us. There will be no want, no hurt, no hunger, no death. The only want we will have will be the want of want.
Heaven is home. Home is a word that warms the heart. The is true in a special way of those who have been away from their homes for an extended time. Even the thought of going home quickens the pulse. And heaven is our home. The Christian delights to think about heaven.
Years ago a Christian was dying. He had gathered his family around him and all was quiet. Just as death was approaching him, he raised his hands, clasp them over his body and exclaimed in a voice of joy, I am going home. May God grant us such thoughts and desires even now while we live, longing to serve the Lord here, but ever knowing that the rest and peace of heaven awaits us.
Soli Deo Gloria,