Funny stories abound regarding people on their death-beds who try to figure out how to “beat the system” and take their riches with them to the afterlife. Of course, Jesus sets us straight on the matter in Matthew 6:19-21,”Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
I thought you might enjoy this version, borrowed from www.MikeysFunnies.com….
There once was a rich man who was near death. He was very grieved because he had worked so hard for his money and he wanted to be able to take it with him to heaven. So he began to pray that he might be able to take some of his wealth with him.
An angel hears his plea and appears to him, "Sorry, but you can't take your wealth with you."
The man implores the angel to speak to God to see if He might bend the rules, just this one time.
The man continues to pray that his wealth could follow him. The angel reappears and informs the man that God has decided to allow him to take one suitcase with him. Overjoyed, the man gathers his largest suitcase and fills it with pure gold bars and places it beside his bed.
Soon afterward the man dies and shows up at the Gates of Heaven, where he meets the apostle Peter. Seeing the suitcase Peter says, "Hold on, you can't bring that in here!"
But the man explains to him that he has permission and asks him to verify his story with the Lord. Sure enough, Peter checks and comes back saying, "You're right. You are allowed one carry-on bag, but I'm supposed to check its contents before letting it through."
Peter opens the suitcase to inspect the worldly items that the man found too precious to leave behind and laughs out loud, "You brought pavement?!?!"
The things we have been convinced are to be desired in this life will be worthless and useless in eternity. “Do not love the world or the things in the world...And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:15-17)
Once upon a time a wealthy businessman purchased a microscope and was fascinated by it. He looked through its lens to observe flower petals and crystals and was amazed at their beauty and detail. Then one day he chose to examine some of the food that had been prepared for his dinner. To his dismay, he discovered that tiny living creatures were crawling all over the food sample.
What to do?! This was one of the man’s favorite dishes! He thought long and hard; and finally, he decided to destroy the instrument that had caused him the consternation in the first place -- so he smashed the microscope to pieces!
“That’s just crazy!” most would react. But how many people regularly do the same thing with the Word of God? Instead of conforming their will and behavior to God’s will, they hate His word, they deny its authenticity and its authority, and would destroy it if only they could.
James (likely one of Jesus’ brothers) says the Bible is like a mirror; one that reveals our true spiritual condition. Do you like what you see?
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (1:22-25)
My preacher friend Tom Moore tells of a group of explorers who came upon a tribe of natives in Africa, who made their home on the banks of a particular river. The explorers didn’t find this unusual, until they observed the pollution in the stream. The river was full of every contamination imaginable. The locals had developed a method of swishing over the top of the water to move the larger debris out of the way before scooping up some of the water for drinking.
One of the explorers took his canteen and poured out a large cup of crystal-clear water (which he had brought with him) and handed it to one of the elderly women of the tribe. She took the cup, pressed it to her lips, and didn’t put it down until the cup was empty. Then, through an interpreter she said that she had never dreamed that there was anything in the world as sweet and wonderful as that water.
Spiritually speaking, this is much like our world...a world without Christ. Many folks drink from polluted streams of secularism, materialism and ungodliness...just swishing the “chunks” out of the way because they have never known anything better.
But thanks be to God, Jesus offers the “crystal clear waters” of salvation from the defilement of the world. Jesus told the Samaritan woman that “...whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14. What kind of water are YOU drinking?
Dr. Harold Urey (1893-1981) was an American physical chemist whose pioneering work on isotopes earned him the 1934 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Dr. Urey discovered the heavy form of hydrogen known as deuterium, making him a key figure in the development of the atomic bomb.
Dr. Urey was walking along a sidewalk one day when he ran into another professor. They chatted for a while, then as they parted, he asked the other gentleman, “Which way was I going when I met you?” “That way,” pointed the other man. “Oh, good. That means I’ve already had my lunch,” muttered Dr. Urey as he walked away. It seems Dr. Urey was indeed an ‘absent-minded professor!’
We’ve all been there, have we not? Misplaced car keys, glasses, purses, umbrellas, TV remotes. We forget people’s names, too; and scheduled appointments, birthdays and anniversaries.
Forgetting some (or all) of these things is indeed frustrating; but what should bother us the most is when we forget the Lord. We forget to pray, or read our Bibles, or speak of Him to our friends and family. Not so much when times are tough -- we need Him then -- but when times are good. God knew that would be our tendency. That’s why He warned the Israelites in the wilderness before they entered the Promised Land…
Beware that you do not forget the LORD your God by not keeping His commandments, His judgments, and His statutes which I command you today, lest -- when you have eaten and are full, and have built beautiful houses and dwell in them; and when your herds and your flocks multiply, and your silver and your gold are multiplied, and all that you have is multiplied; when your heart is lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage… (Deuteronomy 8:11-14)