Missing Those You Love
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I've only been to Israel once, and just for a short visit, but I'll never forget the thrill of seeing those places where Jesus walked when He was here, and watching all those names and places in the Bible suddenly come alive. It really was one of the highlights of my life, except for one thing. I went alone, on my way back home from a ministry trip to Africa. As I stood on the Mount of Olives, as I walked the streets of old Jerusalem, as I experienced the feel of Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee, I kept thinking, "I want my wife to see all of this. I want to experience this with my kids!" Yes, Israel was terrific, but I really wanted to share it with the people I love.
I guess that's just the way it is when you're enjoying a special place; you want the people you care about to be there, sharing it with you. That must include the most special place of all - heaven.
Imagine that you get to heaven and you see Jesus. After you fall on your face in adoration and awe, you begin to thank Him for all He did to get you to heaven. And then you ask a question that's been on your mind since you arrived, "Lord, is Scott here? Is Linda here?" What if Jesus says, "Oh, did you bring him? Did you bring her?" See, Jesus was counting on you to help those people you love understand what He did for them on the cross and to point them to the only One who could get them to heaven.
In our word for today from the Word of God, Paul anticipated the joys he was expecting when he got to heaven. In 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, he says, "For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy." Now, when Paul sees Jesus, his joy is going to be that the people he loved - that he loved enough to introduce to Jesus - will be there with him.
I wonder who you'll be looking for when you get to heaven; people who, as far as you know, may not be headed there right now. If you want them to be there in heaven with you, you'll have to tell them how they can know the Savior who died to get them there. In fact, that's why God has you in their lives, to help them go to heaven with you. How are you doing? There are very few sadnesses deeper in life than standing by the casket of someone you could have told about Christ - you should have told about Christ - but you didn't. We can't have any of those opportunities back, but we do have the friends and neighbors and coworkers and loved ones who are still with us. And we still have time to tell them, but no one knows how much time.
This very day you could start praying what I call the "3-open prayer." First, "Lord, open a door." That's a natural, God-given opportunity to bring up your relationship with Christ. Then, "Lord, open their heart." And finally, "Lord, open my mouth." You don't even have to pray, "Lord, if it's Your will." It is His will. "Lord, open a door. Lord, open their heart. Lord, open my mouth." Begin to seek and pursue opportunities to tell the people in your personal world about the Son of God who paid for their sin so they don't have to.
If there are people you want to have in heaven with you, please while there's time, share with them the message that will get them there.