Pastor Al, the late-night parson, answers again...
"Where Am I Going?"|
Posted: 5 February 2008
Imagine that you are standing in a vast parking lot. An attendant approaches and gives you a set of car keys. Looking down at them you see a tag bearing a number corresponding to one of the many cars in the lot.
"Be sure to follow your map," the attendant says as you turn away in search of your car.
As you make your way through the lot you see every kind of car or truck imaginable. There are sports cars and luxury cars, old clunkers and restored classics. You pass by row after row of minivans, SUV's, pickup trucks, compacts, sedans, until finally, in a back corner of the lot, you find the car bearing the number on your keys.
You may be pleased, surprised, or even disappointed by the car that awaits you. But, having no choice in the matter, you hop in, start the engine, let it idle for a few minutes while you set the mirrors and seat, and then back out of the parking space and head for the street.
It dawns on you, as you reach the exit, that you have no idea which way to go or even where you are headed. Remembering the attendant's admonition to follow the map you fumble in the glove compartment and feel under the seat. No map. You consider checking the trunk but several horns begin honking impatiently from cars backing up behind you. In a hurry, you pull out on the road and head in the direction most of the other cars seem to be going.
"This way isn't so bad," you say to yourself, "Besides, I can always find someplace to pull over later and look for that map. In the meantime, I might as well enjoy the ride."
Eventually, as you continue down the road, you begin to forget the map entirely. Perhaps the beautiful scenery and stunning views captivate you. Maybe bad weather makes driving treacherous and demands intense concentration. Or, it could be heavy traffic that requires your full attention. Soon the map is forgotten completely.
Many years later you eventually reach the end of the road. With mixed emotions you take your place at the end of a long line of cars slowly winding its way up a hill to the bright lights beyond. You recognize some of the other cars and, to your surprise, you find that many of the cars that left the parking lot over the years eventually find their way to the same destination. Though some traveled different routes and some drove faster or slower than the others, nearly all have wound up at the same place.
As you take your place in line you see a narrow path up ahead leading to a small gate just off to the right. Every once in awhile a car ahead of you veers off the main road and, amid hoots and jeers from the other drivers, drives through the gate. A small sign above the gate reads:
"Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)"
"That's strange," you think, as you drive slowly past on your way to the bright lights ahead, "What do people see in that path?"
Eventually your car crests the hill and, to your horror, you find the bright lights are the reflections of a vast lake of fire. You slam on the brakes but it does no good as you skid down the steep slope to the fiery waters below.
Just before the lake consumes you and your car you glimpse a familiar face standing sadly along the shore. It is the parking lot attendant who gave your keys so many years before!
"Why didn't you warn me?!" you demand, "How was I to know the road I traveled would take me here?!"
"The map...!" you hear him shout as the flames begin to engulf your car, "I gave you a map!"
"Map?! There was no map!" you cry.
His answer rings in your ears as the fiery lake closes over you, "The map I put in your trunk...!"
With this little parable in mind, let's consider the question, "Where am I going?" After all, we are all headed down life's highway and one day will reach the end of our road. Wouldn't it be nice to know where we are headed? Wouldn't it be nice if we had a road map to guide us?
Well, the good news is, we do have a road map to guide us. It is called the Bible-God's Holy Word!
In the Bible we find that everyone is headed for one of only two destinations: heaven or hell. And, while there are many roads to hell there is only one road to heaven.
Unfortunately, as in our parable, most people are too busy to consult their map. They are take the whichever route appeals most to them. Roads like Ascetic Avenue, Church Street, Fame Street, Fortune Road, Hedon Highway, Indulgence Boulevard, Market Street, Moral Meadows, Philosopher's Way, Pleasure Parkway, Political Drive, Religion Road, University Circle, Worldly Way, and many more beckon travelers.
The Bible, however, warns us that, "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12)." This admonition is repeated in Proverbs 16:25. Ezekiel 33:11 amplifies this warning for us as well: "Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
Some mistakenly belief that when we reach the end of the road we get to start over again. We call this erroneous concept reincarnation. It is a false doctrine that Jesus repudiated in John 9:2 when His disciples asked him, "Master, who did sin, this man [implying in a previous life-reincarnation], or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Jesus answered them by saying in verse 3, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." In other words, the man did not sin in a previous life resulting in his being born blind in this life.
If that is not clear enough, consider the following passages: "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:(Hebrews 9:27)"; "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (2 Corinthians 5:8)"; "And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. (Luke 16:22-23)".
There are many ways to hell but only one way to heaven, the Calvary Road. It is marked with a cross and an empty tomb and sealed with the Blood of Jesus Christ, Who alone is "way the truth and the life (John 14:6)." There is no other way to heaven.
Like it or not, due to your sin nature you are not and cannot be on the road to heaven until you admit you are a sinner and accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. John 3:18 says, "He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
If you have not trusted Christ as your Saviour then your final destination is hell and the lake of fire for all eternity. If you have trusted Christ then your final destination is heaven.
I know where I am going, how about you?-Pastor Alfred B. Davis
Bible Baptist Church, Richfield, Ohio