Summary: We are going home someday my friend. For many, that experience is greatly anticipated.
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.” John 14:1-4
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
t a recent church potluck, Les Welk, Superintendent of the Assemblies of God Northwest Ministries Network, sat next to a parishioner. As they were eating, he was surprised to hear the parishioner breakout into a theological discourse entitled, “You can tell a lot about a church by the food that shows up at a potluck.” I have renamed the list, “All I’ve learned in the ministry, I learned at a church potluck,” a spin-off of the book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” by Robert Fulghum. So here goes:
Church Potluck Theology
A potluck made up of mostly salads and rolls shows -
a church of low commitment.
A potluck with roast and chicken along with the casseroles signifies -
a church that celebrates God’s provision.
A potluck where the dessert section is mostly Jell-o indicates -
a church of little diversity and no imagination.
A potluck that doesn’t have enough food reveals -
a church of low givers.
A potluck that has plenty of ice for the cold drinks shows -
a church that’s considerate.
A potluck that provides food for children (how often are the children placed in a side room with pizza or hot-dogs?) shows -
a church that values all age groups.
Are there rules for eating at a potluck? Several. Rule number 7 says: when going through the dessert line and you see lemon meringue pie, don’t wait to come back to get your piece. That pie will be gone. Sheet cake? Always plenty. Pie, no!
Potlucks and Shakespeare - you can learn a lot from both of them. You don’t travel the road in college very long before you run into Shakespeare in the English department. Not my favorite read in college. Had to do it to graduate. I graduated therefore I must have read. (Yes, I really did - Cliffs Notes!)
Even if you’ve never read much Shakespeare, you’re probably familiar with the line spoken by Hamlet in a moment of deep thought: “To be, or not to be, that is the question…” (III, i57) The circumstance surrounding that question is tragic: Do I commit suicide or do I live? Which, in his mind, was the worse of two evils?
For Hamlet, life had become intolerable. When he began to think about what his options were in death, he continued, “In that sleep of death what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil?” (III, I, 67-68) Could it be possible that my existence, whatever that is, might be even more intolerable on the other side than life is now? Many in this life have no idea what is on the other side. That’s sad. They could be enjoying everything this life has to offer through God the Father (For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11) plus looking ahead to eternity in Heaven.
Think about another literary genius and his contemplation between this life and the life to come. Paul says, “But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. Philippians 1:23-24 (NASB)
Hamlet says, “Live or die, I lose!” Paul says, “Live or die, I win!” You make the choice about where you’ll spend eternity. If you choose Heaven, welcome home!
Have you found yourself thinking more about Heaven? That’s one of the goals of this series of messages. I certainly have. I experienced three different settings where I thought more about Heaven this week. First, my secretary Faye was sharing about an occasion when she was ministering to some senior adults. She asked the question: Have you been thinking about Heaven lately? To her amazement there was almost no response.
I wonder if the lack of response is really an epidemic in the church at large. Why do we not think more of Heaven? Perhaps, C.S. Lewis can help each of us understand the struggle to keep Heaven in our thinking.