The following was published in The Gisborne Herald on Saturday 12 December 2009:
I imagine that this was how Jesus would explain heaven to his disciples:
“It’s like a mustard seed”, he said once, “Small to begin with, but in time it becomes a huge tree”. Heaven is like that — it begins in a small way, in you doing small things. In time, these small things become many, and great.
“It’s like a treasure of great value”, Jesus said, “When you find it, you sell all you own to buy it.” Heaven is like that – when you realise its true worth, you will give everything you have to get it.
“It’s like a great net”, Jesus said, “It captures every kind of fish, but only the good ones are kept”. Heaven is like that – everyone is captured by the idea, but only the good will get to stay there.
The Kingdom of Heaven, and the Kingdom of God are one and the same. Where God is, there is righteousness, peace, and joy. That is heaven. Without God, there is no life. That is hell.
Jesus taught that Heaven is available to us, if we are committed to living right.
That’s the catch though – do you really want to do right? Do you really love God, with all your heart, mind, and soul? Do you really love your neighbour? Are you righteousness, peace, and joy? Or are you hell?
Tough questions, I know. But ones that Jesus kept asking his followers. We might all fall short of the standard, but through Jesus we all have the chance to do better. We have the chance to know Heaven.
I suspect, though, that Heaven might be too hard a task for us. Like the disciples, we are selfish, we are lazy, we are afraid. And as the famous blues singer said: “Everyone wants to get to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.”
So, make your choice. You can be selfish, hurt others, chase your own glory – hell is waiting for you. Or, you can live like Jesus: Give, love, heal, serve. If you live like that, not only is heaven waiting for you, it belongs to you.
And in this world, a little bit of heaven goes a long way.