A few months ago, maybe longer, I heard a sermon about heaven.
It was a classic kind of sermon. “Is your name written in the lamb’s book of life? Do you know if you’re going to heaven? I know I’m going. I am assured of my final destination” etc…….
The natural question that a sermon like that leads to is what would it take for you give up your spot?
That’s where you head was going right? It’s not just me that see that as the logical question in the middle of a sermon like that? Anyone…….fine it’s probably just me.
Picture this with me.
You have arrived at the gates of heaven. Jesus comes to you and says “well done good and faithful servant” and is about to usher you in. He then stops and says “ Ummm….I don’t usually do this but your wife/husband isn’t getting in. I don’t have their name down.”
You look back, devastated and plea “there must be some mistake?! You have to help!”
“Ok.” Jesus says, but there’s a deep sadness in His eyes.
“Really!? That’s amazing! Thank you so much!”
“There’s a catch” Jesus starts “I can’t just let them in. But much like I did you can give up your spot. You can take their punishment. And let me be perfectly clear, this is not a test. This is not an opportunity for you to show you love and devotion and you both get in. If you say yes, they’re in and you’re out. Period.”
Do you do it?
I’m serious this is what goes on in my head during church and it doesn’t stop there.
I tell myself I’d do it. If it was me or Sarah I want it to be her.
But what if it wasn’t Sarah? What if it was Nolan, my son? I’d like to think I’m a father that will always put him first.
But what if it was my mom? My brother? My sister in-law? My nephew?
What about my best friend? My good friend?
What if Jesus said to me it’s you or your neighbour?
What would you say is Jesus left you the option of you or your most hated enemy?
I know what Jesus answer would be.
He’s already done it and he’s called us to follow along.
The life of compassion is not an easy one. Following in Jesus foots steps is really hard. He’s called us to daily say “I’d give it all up for my enemy”, to live our lives by putting other first. We have been called to lay down all the we are owed and the rights we have in order to place others before ourselves.
That’s why we give up our time and our money. That’s why we commit to relationship and the messiness that comes with it. We’ve been called to give up our comfort and security for our enemy. To reckless share love and grace with those who don’t deserve it.
Is that how you live? I know I often don’t.
Do I put everyone else before myself? No. Should I? Probably.
Looking forward to Easter Sunday and the sacrifice of Good Friday, are you willing to do the same? Willing to be the one who sacrifices (money, time, comfort) and is left in pain?
Are you willing to show by your life the same commitment to others Jesus has for you?
Are you willing to let others see Jesus in you?
Are you ready for your own personal Easter?