Tuesday, October 19, 2021
Proverbs 24:14 “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”
I can still remember the person who first told me about the future hope of heaven. He was a tall man with no hair, and he had an insatiable hunger for the Word of God. Every time I would go over to his house to visit he was studying his Bible. He was a retired preacher who still did evangelistic crusade ministry in churches, focusing on prophecy and the book of Revelation. I visited him often because I loved to play in his back yard, where a creek meandered through a grove of trees. I would climb out onto the branches of those trees that overhung the creek and just watch the water go by, looking for trout that would dart out after food as it passed by in the current.
I remember going into his house on one such visit and asking him what heaven would be like. Most of my questions were pretty childlike. “Would there be fishing in heaven?” “Will I be able to climb trees?” “Will I know people that I knew here on earth?” He was patient with me, and directed my attention to the real joy of heaven, the presence of Jesus Christ. But he also gave me an assignment; read Revelation 21 and discover the wonder of the heavenly city.
I read the assignment, and as a result developed my own appetite for studying God’s Word, especially in the area of prophecy. For most of my childhood and my early adult years, it was the focus of all my study and preaching. I know that I do not have all of the answers to prophecy, but I do know this – Jesus Christ is coming back, and it could be at any time. Living with that expectation changes my life in several ways:
1. I am made more aware of the selfishness that exists in my life, which creates a desire to renounce it for the sake of serving Jesus.
2. I am made more aware that the greatest fulfillment of life comes from accomplishing God’s purpose for His glory, not my purpose for my advantage.
3. I am made more aware of the interruptions that God brings into my life because God wants me to minister to the need of someone else so that they can see a visible example of His love.
4. I do not question inconveniences or hardships, because they are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in me when Jesus Christ returns.
5. I am made more willing to sacrifice anything of this world for the sake of bringing one more person to Jesus for salvation, knowing that their life is the only treasure from this world that I can take into eternity.
6. I am made more aware of the value of time, and using it to the fullest for God’s purpose and not my own.
These are just a few of the ways that a constant expectation of the imminent return of Jesus Christ affects my life every day. I am so thankful to the man who developed the hunger in my life for Christ’s return. I still love him even though he is with the Lord right now. He died when I was about 20, but his heritage lives on in my heart. I will see him again, and I will know him, because we connected at a spiritual heart level here on earth. I just want to thank him again for investing in my life.
Thank you, Dr. J.A. van Gorkom, my grandfather.