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RELIGION COLUMN

Save your fork: Our heavenly dessert still to come

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By D. Clay Perkins
Columnist

Saturday, June 3, 2017

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (The Bible, New International Version)

So many people were confused with her final request. But it made perfect sense. She asked that at the viewing they place a fork in her hand. An odd request indeed, but one that communicated her deep beliefs.

I get it. Not being raised with a silver spoon in my mouth, it made perfect sense. Being child number six of eight, and the son of a truck driver, her request communicated quickly to me her belief system. One of my fondest memories is hearing my mother say, “Save your fork.” I knew immediately what that meant. Then I would lick my fork clean, because the best was yet to come. It meant we had dessert. It was a rare but welcome treat.

Now let’s be clear. There is no nobility in poverty. But there is no need to feel sorry for those raised without a silver spoon. On the other hand, there is no nobility in wealth. And there is no need to begrudge those raised with a silver spoon. Nobility is not found in your lot in life. Nobility is found in a life well lived no matter if you have little or much. For both the poorest and the wealthiest among us, the best is yet to come.

The words to the old hymn are true: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passin’ through; . . . if heaven’s not my home, then Lord what will I do?” For those who believe, life on this side of heaven is just what is. Life is temporary. Heaven is our passion since it is our destination.

Heaven is a place of no more tears, no more death, no mourning, no pain (Revelation 21:4). It is a place of wealth and beauty beyond compare, with gates of pearl and streets of gold as transparent glass (Revelation 21:21). There is a room waiting and ready for you in His house. (John 14:2). We will once again see family and friends who have gone before us. It is the place we can be with God forevermore. (Revelation 21:3).

So in times of plenty and in times of want, learn to be content. Remember life is just a vapor. Life is just temporary. The only real value in life is your relationship with God (Psalm 73:25). Life is hard. And life can be very good. But whether life is easy or hard, the best is yet to come. Save your fork.

Stay focused.

Dr. D. Clay Perkins is president of Mid-Atlantic Christian University.

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