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Friday, November 15, 2013

Fork me!

Not so long ago I participated in my first funeral. As a pastor we are often called to crisis situations but thankfully I had never been called to do a funeral. Out of the blue I get a call and am told that days are limited and that my church was the church of choice for the funeral. As I set in my office and pondered the reality that we will all at some time answer for how we have spent the time God has given us. No man, woman, or child will get around this stark reality, which got me thinking over the past. Specifically the last 5-10 years. I reminisced of friends and family that I have all around the country and the rough times that have surrounded many of them. I quite honestly started to get discouraged. I personally know more pastors than I can count on both hands that have left the ministry either out of frustration or because they were asked to leave. This led me to relook over some of my old emails to see if I could see any indication of their leaving the ministry and it led me in a way different direction. I came across an email of a pastor who had met a young lady who had limited days because of cancer and was preparing her funeral. As the pastor had completed the details, I got up and after a humble good bye opened the door. "Stop"' she called out. "I almost forgot the most important thing. My final request is to have a fork placed in my right hand so during the viewings and visitations people will be curious of the significance of this fork." Not wanting to be rude the pastor agreed that he would make certain of this final request. Indignant, she asked if he was at all curious why she wanted this, of all things. "Well, I am a bit curious",  he shyly responded. The young lady explained that as a young girl as the supper dishes were being cleaned up she would yearn to hear the words, "keep your forks". For she knew that was the indication of something better coming to her. She would grip her fork tightly and graciously receive the dessert which was sweet, warm and substantial. Hot fudge brownies a'la mode, pie, cake, custard, it really didn't matter it was the best part of the meal. "I want people to ask about the fork, and then I want you to explain it to them. I know the best is yet to come."
I sometimes lose track of this myself, in fact Jesus claims that He came that we might have life and have it abundantly. This isn't reference to the earthly riches you and I cling to, it was a reference to the eternal status you may have as a gift from Him to you. He has already reserved your space through His payment on the cross. So the question is will you take the fork or reject it? Jesus clearly says, "I am the way the truth and the life NO ONE come to the Father but through Me". The world will tell you otherwise and may feel good immediately but it will always be temporary. Salvation is for eternity and trust me it will feel better, be more joyous and rewarding than anything this earth has to offer. Why not make that decision now? What is standing in the way?
Till the next time.