Summary: When you breathe your last breath, your eternal destiny is forever determined. Eleanor Roosevelt got it right when she said, “Life is like a parachute jump, you’ve got to get it right the first time.”
DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOU WILL SPEND ETERNITY?
“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NIV
The title of today’s message was not arrived at casually. It was deliberately chosen. "Do you KNOW where you will spend eternity? is not a rhetorical question. It is a question that every hearer should consider carefully, and answer honestly, because so much depends on the answer you truthfully can give.
Rarely is my attention captured by stories that are sent me over the internet. But John Squyres, a dear pastor friend whom I have known for more than fifty years, sent me this wonderful story. It illustrates, in a marvelous way, the very truth that the Apostle Paul shared with Timothy.
"In January 2000, leaders in Charlotte, North Carolina, invited their favorite son, Billy Graham, to a luncheon in his honor. Billy initially hesitated to accept the invitation because he struggles with Parkinson’s disease. But the Charlotte leaders said, "We don’t expect a major address. Just come and let us honor you." So he agreed. "After wonderful things were said about him, Dr. Graham stepped to the rostrum, looked at the crowd, and said, "I’m reminded today of Albert Einstein, the great physicist who this month has been honored by Time magazine as the Man of the Century.
"Einstein was once traveling from Princeton on a train when the conductor came down the aisle, punching the tickets of every passenger. When he came to Einstein, Einstein reached in his vest pocket. He couldn’t find his ticket, so he reached in his trouser pockets. It wasn’t there, so he looked in his briefcase but couldn’t find it. Then he looked in the seat beside him. He still couldn’t find it.
"The conductor said, "Dr. Einstein, I know who you are. We all know who you are. I’m sure you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it." Einstein nodded appreciatively.
"The conductor continued down the aisle punching tickets. As he was ready to move to the next car, he turned around and saw the great physicist down on his hands and knees looking under his seat for his ticket.
"The conductor rushed back and said, "Dr. Einstein, Dr. Einstein, don’t worry, I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket. I’m sure you bought one." Einstein looked at him and said, "Young man, I too, know who I am. What I don’t know is where I’m going.’"
"Having said that, Billy Graham continued, "See the suit I’m wearing? It’s a brand new suit. My wife, my children, and my grandchildren are telling me I’ve gotten a little slovenly in my old age. I used to be a bit more fastidious. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion.
"You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I’ll be buried. But when you hear I’m dead, I don’t want you to immediately remember the suit I’m wearing. I want you to remember this: I not only know who I am…I also know where I’m going!"