No. 718

Every once in a while I get to thinking that I may have arrived, especially after some personal highlight has occurred in my life or some honor or award has been bestowed on me. However, it does not take long for reality to set in and I am brought face to face with the undeniable fact that arriving anywhere down here on earth pales in comparison to arriving safely in Heaven, to spend eternity with Jesus. If we spend our entire life piling up wealth, seeking prestige and power and garnering the awards that mankind can give, and miss Heaven, then, to my way of thinking, the price that was paid was certainly too high.
To make it to Heaven at the end of our days on earth is the goal of most people, even those who don’t attend church or consider themselves religious. Seldom do you find someone who wants to go to hell, save for those in society who have committed such heinous crimes they actually want to be punished, and hell is the worst punishment they can envision. While this is certainly not my field, there may be others like Satan worshipers, those in the Occult and others who are mentally deranged who have this destination as their goal.
What turned my thinking in this direction was something a reader sent me the other day. It was a poem titled, “The Best Poem in the World” and the author is unknown. I would like to share it with you and then you will understand my earlier comments.
It begins: “I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven’s door. Not by the beauty of it all - nor the lights or its décor. But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp, the thieves, the liars, the sinners, the alcoholics, and the trash. There stood the kid from seventh grade who swiped my lunch money twice. Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.
“Herb, who I always thought was rotting away in hell, was sitting pretty on cloud nine, looking incredibly well. I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal? I would love to hear your take. How’d all these sinners get up here? God must have made a mistake. And why is everyone so quiet, so somber, give me a clue’. ‘Hush child,’ He said. ‘They are all in shock, because no one thought they would be seeing you’.”
Now, that’s a pretty sobering thought when you get right down to it. While only God knows for sure, I suspect there are going to be lots of people in Heaven who no one thought would ever make it, while others who have been labeled “can’t miss” went on a different flight in the opposite direction.
Here is the message of this little poem and I am sure you have already picked up on it. In Matthew 7:1 the Bible is very clear when it says, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” We are not to judge other people, only God can do that. Yet, in our human frailty there is a natural tendency to look at others, their behavior, their habits and the lifestyle they are living, and compare them to our preconceived notions of what it takes to get to Heaven. Just remember, going to church doesn’t make us a Christian anymore than standing in our garage makes us a car.
Someone added two simple statements to that little poem that I shared earlier that gives me hope and I trust it will you, as well. Every saint has a PAST and every sinner has a FUTURE. I am not a pastor. Rather, I am just a sinner who has been saved by God’s amazing grace. I hope those who have gone before won’t be too shocked when I show up. We should live simply. Love seriously. Care deeply. Speak kindly and leave the rest to God.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)