A friend of mine sent me a little story clip from Sunday School:
How to get to Heaven
I was testing children in my Sunday school class to see if they
understood the concept of getting into heaven.
I asked them, ‘If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and
gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?’
‘NO!‘ the children answered.
‘If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the garden, and kept
everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?’
Again, the answer was ‘NO!’ By now I was starting to smile.
‘Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave sweets to all the
children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?’
Again, they all answered ‘NO!’.
I was just bursting with pride for them.
I continued, “Then how can I get into heaven?”
A six year-old boy shouted out: “YUV GOTTA BE DEAD!”
I had to smile. It did remind me, though, that when working with kids it is very hard to talk about the concept of “ever-after;” especially when we know that nothing we do gets us into heaven anyway.
Theologically, “works righteousness,” as that is called, is not acceptable as a tenant of faith. There is no guarantee. One cannot earn one’s way into heaven. The grace of God given to us by Christ, and our belief in Christ, is the only potential assurance we have that our Lord is “going to prepare a place” for us, as we are told in John 14:2.
Heaven cannot be earned. Heaven is a gift; which is also why living out the Kingdom of Heaven now, today, is called practicing the presence of Christ, and always takes place in the “present.” It is a gift. That is our calling.
Practicing the presence of Christ allows us to go out and “make disciples of all nations (and ages!), baptizing in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” ~ Matthew 28:19.
What a beautiful work to be a part of! What a gift it is to make a difference in the lives of others; and, I would argue, the entire planet: all of Creation. is truly practicing Christ’s presence.