I grew up in a very legalistic church where spirituality was measured on personal performance. My acceptance to God (and my church) was based on how well I kept all the rules: modest clothing; no television, no movie going, very strict Sabbath observence, etc.
I dreaded when our church had revival services because the evangelist would always use the rapture as a means to get people to come forwardto the altar. He would use Christ’s return to scare Believers into wondering if they would miss the Rapture because they didn’t “cross all the t’s and dot all the i’s” spiritually speaking.
But when the Apostle Paul spoke of Christ’s return he said, “Therefore encourage one anotherwith these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18
“The prize that shows I have God’s approval is now waiting for me. The Lord, who is a fair judge, will give me that prize on that day. He will give it not only to me but also to everyone who is eagerly waiting for him to come again.” 2 Timothy 4:8
In 1951, the movie The Day the Earth Stood Still was a box office hit! Today it is considered a film classic. When a flying saucer lands in Washington, D.C., the U. S. Army quickly encircles the spaceship. A humanoid (Michael Rennie) emerges, announcing that he has come in peace. His galaxy has been obsereving Earth and they are concerned about the Earth’s future.
As many of the world’s greatest scientists gather, Klaatu (the alien) pointedly tells them that the people of Earth have a choice. They can join the other planets in peace, but should they threaten to extend their violence into space, “this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. We shall be waiting for your answer”. Klaatu then leaves as he came.
Though this was produced years ago, it shows us that America was concerned with its future years ago. Weapons have since developed that people in 1951 could never have imagined. Laser weapons. Heat-seeking missles. Drones. Dirty bombs. Iran and North Korea with nuclear weapons. We have the capability of destroying each other many times over!
While this film is fictional it is thought-provoking. How long can this world survive? How long before God says, “Enough!” Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail.” Lamentations 3:22-23
TThere’s an old story about an elderly woman who was told by her physician that she probably wouldnt’live much longer. Soon there after, she called in her pastor to discuss her funeral arrangements. They talked about how the service would be, music she would like sung, scriptures to be read, etc. As the conversation was winding down, the woman remarked, “There’s one thing that’s very important: I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.”
Her pastor was understandably puzzled by that remark, and he couldn’t contain his curiosity. “That is interesting. Would you care to tell why?”
The woman explained. In all my years of attending church socials and functions where food was involved; my favorite part was when whoever was clearing away the dishes of the main course would lean over and say ‘you can keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming. When they told me to keep my fork I knew that something great was about to be given to me. It wasn’t Jell-O or pudding. It was cake or pie. Something with substance. So I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Something better is coming so keep your fork too.’ The pastor’s eyes were welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman good-bye.
At the funeral people were walking by the woman’s casket and they saw the pretty dress she was wearing and her favorite bible and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question What’s with the fork? And over and over he smiled. During his message the pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. The pastor told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either. He was right.
So the next time you reach down for your fork, let it remind you oh so gently that there is something better coming.