CAN I TAKE ANYTHING WITH ME?|
Posted: June 20, 2006
Have you ever planned to go somewhere and wondered what you could take? Well, we are all going to go somewhere after we die. If you have trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior you will go to heaven. If you have not then you will go to hell, no matter how religious or nonreligious you are. After all, Jesus said, "...I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6 )". In either case, we might want to ask, can I take anything with me?
Now this may seem like a silly question, but consider what we spend their lives accumulating. What, if any of it, can we take with us? And, with that it mind, what does that say about the value we place on this life versus the next?
Think about all that stuff we have accumulated during our life. I'm talking about our material goods, our prized possessions, our money, savings and investments, our properties, houses, and lands, etc. What happens to it the moment we die?
Obviously we can't take it with us. The Egyptian Pharaohs tried but tomb robbers and archeologists found it all still there when they broke into their pyramids centuries later. What happened to the Pharaoh's stuff illustrates perfectly what Psalms 39:6 says: "Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them."
Solomon echoes the same in Ecclesiastes 2:18-19 when he said, "Yea, I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool? yet shall he have rule over all my labour wherein I have laboured, and wherein I have shewed myself wise under the sun. This is also vanity."
Even Jesus said in the parable of the rich fool, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided (Luke 12:19-20)?"
No, we can't take it with us. "As he came forth of his mother's womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand (Ecclesiastes 5:15)."
Okay, if we can't take our stuff with us, what can we?
Notice what Paul says in Philippians 4:1: "Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved." He is talking about those in Philippi that he had led to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. He calls them his "dearly beloved" and his "joy and crown." Obviously Paul puts great value on those he has helped lead to the Lord.
Now look in 1 Thessalonians 2:19: "For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?"
Here Paul not only refers to those who have come to Christ as his "joy" and "crown of rejoicing," but he expects them to be gathered into the Lord's presence along with himself where they would rejoice together. He said much the same in 2 Corinthians 1:14: "As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus." (See also 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
Obviously, Paul expected to see those that he had led to the Lord in heaven and so should we. In fact, another person is the only thing we can take to heaven from this world. No wonder the Old Testament prophet Daniel wrote, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever (Daniel 12:3)."
Think about it then, if "...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)" then, "...how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher (Romans 10:14)?" When we stop telling, people stop believing.
Of course, not everyone we share the gospel with is going to believe. Paul preached to the Jews in Rome "...to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not (Acts 28:23-24)." Those that did not believe did not pass on Paul's message and we shouldn't expect that they would.
Clearly then, it is the responsibility of God's people to communicate the message of salvation to the lost and dying world around us. And when we are faithful to "...Go...into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15)," we can expect to rejoice with those they help lead to the Lord in heaven.
Unfortunately, the converse is true. If we, as Believers, do nothing to share the message of salvation then we cannot expect to take anyone with us to heaven. Hopefully, someone will share the gospel with them but they won't be our "joy" and "crown of rejoicing."
Unfortunately, the unsaved can take someone with them as well. Whether they reject the Bible as a fairy tale or embrace a false religion they hinder others from believing the gospel. Two extremes of this can be seen in the atheist who influences others to reject God and the Islamic cleric who assures suicide bombers that Allah will reward them with 72 virgins in Paradise. In both cases, they and their followers will end up in hell-not to mention the unsaved people the suicide bomber blows up as well.
Sadly, there are many other cases in between where people go to hell and take others with them. Countless millions have gone to hell, leading others with them, while trusting in the false hopes of their baptisms, their church memberships, their good works, the platitudes of their liberal pastors who have assured them that a loving God would send nobody to hell. Still others have followed the satanic lies of the new age and the occult, been raised in the grips of any one of a multitude of false, pagan, and eastern religions, or in the absence of any religion at all.
God says, "...they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch (Matthew 15:14).
I think it is clear from the Bible that we cannot take any-THING with us when we die but we can take any-ONE. The question is, are you taking them with you to heaven or to hell?