Thursday, March 30, 2006

Treasures in Heaven

"Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven…" (Matt. 6:20). Lately, I’ve been considering just how it is we lay up treasures in heaven. My conclusion: we store up treasures in heaven by investing the wealth of money, time and ability in a way that changes the makeup of eternity.

This week, heaven received a great treasure in Bill Hess. Bill, who has struggled with an aggressive cancer for the past six months, received a more perfect healing this week when he passed away in his bed at Riverside Hospital.

Having been around death a lot in my brief ministry, I’ve come to see that once the struggle against disease is let go, death for a believer becomes quite a beautiful thing. This was certainly the case with Bill. Last Sunday, members of our choir gathered around his bed to sing. This came on the heels of a day when Bill, fully alert, was able to spend some deeply meaningful time with his wife Lynnette. Though after that he regressed quickly, the day before Bill passed, he was off his pain medications long enough to mouth “I love you” to the people around him and to turn the corner of his mouth just enough to indicate a smile.

He was a man prepared to see God face to face.

I can’t help but be proud of how Bill’s Bible study class and a host of others have surrounded Bill and Lynnette over the past year. I can’t help but think of how differently these last months would have been had his Christian friends, Jim and Diane Wood, not extended an invitation for Bill and Lynnette to attend our church's Christmas concert. I can’t help but wonder how different eternity would be had faithful Christians long ago not invested time, money, and ability in the life of a young man and led him to a relationship with God.

Bill was certainly a treasure on earth. Thank God we could all be a part of making Bill a treasure in heaven.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A Beautiful Evening

As I write, I'm out on my back porch. It's screened in, and the little lamp behind me illuminates the area in front of me just enough so I can see what's there while also taking in the trees and the neighborhood.

The weather is absolutely perfect. My weather toolbar on my Firefox Browser tells me it's 74 degrees and partly cloudy. It feels like being inside in a climate controled environment. No wind at all.

So what about this experience compelled me to set aside a perfectly good book to take on a new post? I'm sitting here thinking of just how many places in this infinite universe of ours could a human being go and experience this perfect tranquility. We can travel the universe entire, and not find too many places as perfect as ours. The air out here isn't bottled by NASA and forced into a space suit. It's God air. And all I have to do is let my lungs do their thing. I don't need specialized protective clothing to experience the elements, I just sit back and relax and take in a perfect breeze.

One theory about the size of the universe is that it takes a universe as large as ours to create just the right environment for human life to take place at this particular spot in the universe. Cool.

Thank you God for putting us in just the right place in the heavens, just the right distance from the sun, with just the right tilt of the axis, with just the right gravitational pull coming from the moon. All may not be right with the world, or right with my life, or right in my spirit, but God's sure doing his job. I'm glad someone's got it together!