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  • A Friend of Jesus

ETERNITY IS A LONG TIME

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

What are you waiting for?

I was on Facebook today reading posts. There was one in particular that caught my attention. My friend posted the following question. Why does it bother you so much that I believe in God? If I am wrong and there is no God, when I die I will cease to exist. I have lost nothing. If you are wrong and there is a God, when you die you will have lost eternity and the chance to live forever in paradise.


Then the strangest thing happened. A story developed in my head:


This is the story of two neighbors. Chris lived in a modest house. It wasn't anything fancy and he didn't own a lot of stuff, but he was happy and had all he needed. Jack lived in a shack with a leaky roof and the walls were falling down, but he owned all the latest technology, a fancy car and had the best of everything money could buy.


When Chris and Jack would see each other outside Chris would say hello and wave, but Jack would ignore him. You see Jack thought Chris was a fool. "How can a man live in a nice house and drive an old beater car? He doesn't even own a television or a smart phone. He doesn't drink or do drugs. What a loser." The neighbors were not enemies, they just had a different perspective on life.


One cold winter's day Chris looked out his window to see his neighbor Jack standing next to a burn barrel in his front yard. He could see that Jack was drinking out of a whiskey bottle and trying to warm himself around the fire. Chris looked at the fire in his fireplace and thought, "I will ask Jack to come in and warm himself. I bet his old shack is just freezing."


Chris went outside and called to his neighbor, "Jack, come inside and warm yourself. My house is very comfortable and toasty."


Jack looked at his neighbor. "Got any whiskey?"


"No," Chris answered, "but I have some hot chocolate"


"Loser!" Jack responded and turned his back on Chris.


A few months later there was a wild and windy thunderstorm. Chris looked out the window to see if Jack's little shack was okay and he saw Jack on the roof securing a tarp over the big holes. Chris went outside to help him. When he got to Jack's house the rain was really coming down. Chris said, "Can I help?"


Jack yelled from the roof, "Got another tarp? I need to make sure my TV doesn't get damaged."


"Your TV?" Chris was puzzled.


"Yes, I paid a lot of money for it and I can't live without it."


"You are getting soaked to the skin and it is dangerous up there! Come and dry off in my house."


"Go away loser. Your house is boring. You don't have a TV or video games or internet. What would I do in your house? Leave me alone."


Frustrated and soaking wet Chris went home. He was worried about his neighbor. How long would Chris refuse his help? Why were all these things so much more important than his own life? He wanted so much to help his neighbor find peace, comfort and happiness that he had found in his house. It just seemed that Jack was too interested in material things to care about what really mattered.


Summer came and it was hot, the hottest on record. Chris was comfortable in his house, but he had seen Jack earlier in the day and he didn't look well. The storms of the spring had taken their toll on his little shack and all of Jacks belongings were broken and strewn all over his dead lawn. Jack was shirtless and laying drunk on and old hammock in the yard. His skin was red and sunburned. Chris wanted to help him, but did he dare risk Jack calling him names again?


He went outside with some ice water and a patio umbrella. He set the ice water down next to Jack who was sleeping and set the umbrella up over his neighbor. He gently nudged Jack to wake him up and handed him the ice water. Jack pushed the water out of Chris' hand and cursed at him calling him a loser and an idiot.


Rejected again Chris turned to walk away. He stopped and looked back, "I don't understand why you would rather be miserable than accept my help. What did I do that made you dislike me?"


Jack snapped back, "You are weird. You believe that you are happy, but you don't have anything that I believe makes a person happy. All you have is that damn house. It isn't fancy. It isn't filled with all the things that make us happy and yet you are always happy. That is just weird. There is something wrong with you."


Chris shrugged, "what is weird to you, is home to me. My house keeps me safe from the wind and the rain, it keeps me warm in the cold and cool in the heat. I have food, water and it is surprisingly peaceful inside. I am surrounded by love. If you had just come in when I offered, you would have seen that you don't need all this stuff to make you happy. Love is enough. You've gone through so much that you didn't need to go through."


Jack waved Chris away. "Love doesn't exist. It is a myth. The only thing that is real is what I see on TV. I don't need your love or your help, and I won't live in a house like yours. So just go away."


The two neighbors never spoke again. Jack was gone one day and his property was sold. The shack was torn down and the lot was cleaned up. Chris thought of Jack often and how sad it is that he never knew what it was like to live in a house of Love.


Imagine Jesus offering love to people only to be rejected time and again. How soon before He stops offering? Things of this life do not satisfy. When you live in a house built by God and inhabited by God the rains come, the snow blows, the sun beats down but you are safe. We can weather any storm in the house of the Lord because it is built on a solid foundation and is filled with the Love of God.


There is only one source of true joy in this world and it comes from being in love with God.


Imagine Living in the house of the Lord forever.


Now imagine not living in the house of the Lord forever.


There are only two options. If I am wrong then when I am dead none of this will matter, but if I am right, and I am, eternity is an awful long time to spend regretting choices made in this brief life.


2 Corinthians 6:2 "I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation."


Mark 8:36 "What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?"


Psalm 23:6 "Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."


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