It’s natural to think of biblical encouragements and admonitions as examples of ways to live that show we’re walking with Jesus. Some maybe even think you live these ways in order to get into heaven.
What if we “keep in step with the Spirit” and “live such good lives” not only as evidence that we’re heaven-bound, but as practice for eternity?
I’ve mentioned the “parable” below (it’s not a parable recorded in the Bible) to a few people before, and I came across it again the other day. It connects with this instruction from the apostle Paul:
Let each of you look not to your own interests,
—- but to the interests of others.
Listen now to how the parable goes…
A man was taken on a tour of both heaven and hell.
In hell he was shown a banquet hall filled with diners seated at a table laden with the choicest food. Each person’s back and left arm were tied to the chair so that bending at the waist was impossible and the left arm could not move. The right arm was stiffened so that the elbow would not bend. The diners gazed at and smelled the food just inches from them, but they were starving.
In heaven the picture was the same – backs and left arms shackled, right arms stiffened – but the diners were feasting and rejoicing because each diner used his stiffened right arm to feed the person to his right.
Could it be that living in Christlike ways today is not only evidence of the Holy Spirit at work in us, but also practice for when we’ll finally get it perfect in the new heaven and new earth?
I read this parable again recently in a meditation in Forward Day by Day. The piece concludes with this quote by Jean Jacques Rousseau: “When a man dies he clutches in his hands only what he has given away during his lifetime.”
The photo of the banquet tables is from The Banff Centre in Banff AB.