Posted by: myroadtoemmaus | August 30, 2008

“What do you want on your tombstone?”  Remember that old pizza commercial for Tombstone pizzas?  Well, somehow, that randomly came up in our conversation yesterday, as Russell and I were running errands.  The quote provoked a more serious, yet light-hearted nonetheless, conversation about what we would truly want said about us after we die.  My response?  “Great is her reward in Heaven”. 

That single idea has captivated me this past week or two.  I am convinced that I have no idea what rewards in Heaven are, and therefore, sadly, I don’t live a life that would merit my receiving of them based on Scripture.  

For example, let’s look at the “Rich Young Ruler”.  You know the story.  The man walks up to Jesus and says (I am paraphrasing), “So, what can I do to attain eternal life?”  Jesus responds with a list of laws.  “Do this.  Don’t do that.”  He is setting the man up!  The man responds that he has kept every one of the laws for all of his life.  (must be nice)  Then, out of nowhere, Jesus stuns him.  “OK, so you know how to follow some rules.  Well, if you really want to know the secret, sell everything you have, give it to the poor, and come follow me.”  As you know, the man walks away dejected, unable to do what Jesus has asked of him. 

However, here’s the part that almost knocked me over.  Jesus prefaces this challenge with the phrase, “One thing you lack”.  He asked the man just one question that summed it all up.  Yes, this man had followed the rules- had obeyed the law- all of his life.  But Jesus asked him, in essence, “Will you choose me”?  And the man caved.  Jesus asked him, “Do you want what I have for you or do you want to hold on to what you have in and of yourself?  My burden or yours?  My will or yours?  Because I care about the widows and the orphans.  I care abuot the lowly in heart.  I care about the sick and oppressed, the lonely, the outcast…  So will you follow me or will you go your own way?  Jesus doesn’t tell him to give it all away and then live a boring or poor life the rest of his days.  No!  Jesus offers him reward in Heaven. 

I always assumed that the man walked away because he was rich and therefore didn’t want to give up his possessions.  The challenge was too costly.  But, I don’t think that’s the whole story anymore!  Jesus clearly laid before the man the reward.  And yet his conception of “Heavenly Rewards” was not strong enough to enable him to do what Jesus had asked.  If he only knew!!!  If he only knew that the reward was far better than anything this world could offer. 

And at that moment, I was struck.  “I don’t even know”, I whispered to the Lord.  If I knew, my life would look different.  It would look more like the lifestyle He outlined in the Sermon on the Mount.  How tragically different, however, that lifestyle is from my own.  But I am now on a journey to figure some of this stuff out, and to press in to love Him wholeheartedly in the process.

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