What You Have to Be to Get There
A pastor was talking to a group of young children about being Christians and going to heaven. At the end of his talk, he asked,
“Now, where do you want to go?”
“Heaven!” they all piped up.
Again, the pastor asked, “And what do you have to be to get there?”
Dead!” one boy yelled.[i]
You’d think we didn’t want to go to heaven, the way we fight death and aging. It seems we begrudge every grain of sand that passes through the hourglass of life. We search for the fountain of eternal youth, trying to stay young as long as possible. We don’t want to even think about death.
The apostle Paul’s outlook was such a contrast to this attitude. His desire was that Christ would be exalted in his body, as he put it, “whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ,” he wrote, “and to die is gain…. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:20-24).
Paul did not dread death because, as he wrote, “We…know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6, 8).
Do you know that if you died today you’d go to heaven? You can. Because Jesus rose from the grave, we know that He has conquered death, and as you commit your life totally to Him, you will receive the confidence that Paul had that if you’re away from the body, you’ll be at home with the Lord.
Yes, as the little boy bluntly put it, if we’re going to get to Heaven, we do have to be dead—unless, of course, the Lord returns to earth before then to take us there. But what an experience heaven will be! I wouldn’t want to take a chance on any other future. Would you?
[i] Stan Toler, Humor for a Mom’s Heart (West Monroe, LA: Howard Publishing Company, 2002), 166.