Tag Archives: Eternal life

It’s Private, Keep Out!

What goes through your head when you see the sign KEEP OUT? Are you perhaps curious to see whats being hidden or protected? Or do you obediently go on your way, not giving it a second thought?

Whether or not we are curious to see what might be behind the sign, we all have a similarly private space within ourselves that we keep some people out of. A space for deeper reflection, wonderings and secrets, a treasure trove of inner self awareness.

For some of us we share our secrets and depths generously, perhaps sometimes too generously,  for others we are more guarded and in turn sometimes lonely. Whichever we relate too, who we let into that sacred space is important to us. It’s in that place where deep change can occur depending on what is spoken of.

There is a story of a man who lived in ancient times who we shall call Ben! He had obtained many things in his life, property, money, status, he had everything he could ever want, except one thing. Like many whose happiness is found in looking younger, the reality of ageing and the finality of it all bothered him, and so he craved what he did not have, the ability to live forever. This was his deep desire reflected in his choices and his motives, to become ‘someone of greatness’.

So Ben finds himself before Jesus with a question. For Ben as well as us the reality is the same, at some point we all leave, death is inevitable and inescapable. We all become separated from that which we have earned, gathered, or built up and from that which we love.

Ben decided at some point the next step on his journey for greatness was a spiritual one. Luckily it just so happened that Jesus was around when Ben was alive. So he began his conversation with Jesus, with the question; how can I inherit eternal life?

Jesus spoke with clarity and conviction, Ben would have to give up his wealth and give it to the poor to follow Jesus. Sadly for him this was too high a price to pay! For Ben, his keep out sign was around his connection with wealth. He was not prepared to let Jesus into that area of his life. Ben’s identity was wrapped up in his wealth and pride of all he had accumulated.

So the conversation stutters to a halt and the man who would become The Rich Young Ruler leaves, challenged to the core of his being. What happened next? Well we don’t know, perhaps what attracted him to Jesus in the first place over time made him willing to go that extra distance. Or perhaps Ben and all his possessions walked off into the sunset together.

Like the man in the story I wonder what things you are keeping Jesus from, what areas are simply off limits to the divine? Often it’s attitudes we don’t want to deal with, or fear of what might be challenged in us. It is fear that makes us put up such keep out signs. Fear of what if, or what might happen, fear of making new friends, sharing our faith, taking a challenge, starting something new, stepping into Gods call on our lives.

The rich young ruler could never have taken his wealth into heaven with him, yet was too afraid of what he would be without it. Today prayerfully consider what keep out signs do you have in your life? Why they are there and how might you benefit if you take them down, when it’s Jesus who is knocking at your door.

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Facebook offers eternal life!

Recently in my preaching I have been reminding people of their place in heaven (eg that they have one). In funerals I talk of the room Jesus prepares, a room of peace, healing and eternally in Gods presence.

Whilst on Facebook, I read a status update on a page of a colleague of mine, who used to work for Samaritans with me. I hadn’t heard from my Facebook friend for sometime, and began to read her sisters post, and as I read, I discovered something, that actually my friend died over a year ago. I knew she had been ill but hadn’t realised how ill. The post itself finished simply “stating another Christmas without you! Missing you.”

I saw Facebook in a new way, it offers those of faith and of none, a place to hold onto a loved one, speaking to them, in some kind of digital eternity. If I didn’t believe in heaven, this would be a source of comfort, to help me hold onto them.

But the heaven of the bible is not a kind of digital status chamber. It’s living, in a new way, its I believe, vibrant and colourful, we become fully as god intended, we are made whole. We won’t be stuck with ageing bodies but ones that are new and eternally ageless. I am reassured that scripture doesn’t say anything about eternal church services, heavenly worship will be so much more, much much more.

Turning off your beloveds Facebook or Twitter account, or the digital footprint they leave behind, has become one of those big decisions, like when to get rid of their clothes. Or delete their emails.

Holding onto the digital footprint of your loved one has the potential to be helpful and destructive, holding onto God as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and trusting eternal designs to him. Is where I find peace, for my friend who died, and for those whom I miss.

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