Summary: to help the Christian have God’s peace when facing death
There was a group of boys in Mr. Smith’s Sunday School Class who were learning about Eternal Life. At the close of the lesson, Mr. Smith wanted to see how well he taught his lesson and so he asked his class who wanted to go to Heaven? The entire class raised its hands, expect one boy. Thinking that this young boy did not hear him well, he repeated the question. Still he did not raise his hand. Finally out of frustration, Mr. Smith addressed him asking him if he wanted to go to Heaven, to which he replied Sure I do Mr. Smith, but I thought that you were planning on taking a group up right now, and I am just not ready!
Death is a very uncomfortable subject to discuss, and we all must face it one day whether or not we are ready. It is my prayer this day, that I will be able to give you a reality check in your Christian faith on this very point so that when you face death, you will have God’s peace
Read the Text:
Our Heavenly Dwelling
1 Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, 3 because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked. 4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
The Deposit of the Spirit.
God puts a little bit of heaven in our hearts so that we just won’t settle for less! (I Cor 5:5 The Message) He gives us the Spirit, His pledge that it is only going to get better. Throughout the many difficulties that Paul went through as a minister, he never lost sight that something better was in store for him. And not only that, he told others the same thing.
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.
Everything was in order and the pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her. There’s one more thing," she said excitedly. "What’s that?" came the pastor’s reply. "This is very important," the woman continued. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand." The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.
"That surprises you, doesn’t it?" the woman asked.
"Well, to be honest, I’m puzzled by the request," said the pastor.
The woman explained. "In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ’Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming...like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What’s with the fork?’. Then I want you to tell them:
"Keep your fork....the best is yet to come."
The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.
At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite Bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the pastor heard the question "What’s with the fork?" And over and over he smiled. During his message, the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.