Graduation and My Change of Address

“Guess where I’m headed?”

Graduations are in full swing and thousands of high school seniors are saying “good bye” to where they’ve been for years. They’ve been an influence wherever they’ve walked, talked, worked, played, been challenged, or suffered. Many have sacrificed to reach certain goals, to come alongside a wounded friend, or to help someone who had a greater need than themselves. Through the years, the decisions they made would determine their future paths, their future destinations, and the status they bring with them when they get there.So, after graduation, there will be a “change-of-address card” that needs to be filled out to their new destination.

In other words, their surroundings, their upbringing, their habits, and their mindset determine if their destination at their new address is Harvard University, MIT, a community college, Parris Island, West Point, living under a bridge, or a place where they wear a toe tag. Why so many options? What makes each individual person’s opportunities so varied? Why can someone like Ben Carson, who was a candidate for President; come from such a troubled neighborhood achieve such lofty positions in life? And how can a different person, who had everything at their disposal for a fruitful life, turn to drugs and die in their early 20’s?

Jeremiah 1:5-8 says: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;Before you were born I sanctified you;Iordained you a prophet to the nations.”Then said I: ‘Ah, Lord God!Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.’But the Lord said to me: ‘Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.Do not be afraid of their faces, for I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.”

So, Jeremiah obeyed and did what the Lord wanted him to do with his life. Very productive and very full.

But Jonah 1:13 says: “Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”

Jonah disobeyed, paid a steep price; but eventually obeyed and the result was the conversion of an entire city for God!

So when we look at how we lived our own lives on this planet, we need to consider not only about how our “change of address” card is filled out before we “graduate” to the afterlife, but what we do here has a bearing on where we go, when we go, and what will be our “status” when we get there. Did we make the ultimate decision to received Christ as our Savior, and secure a spot in heaven? Did we fill our lives with obedience, love, and dedication?

As with anything else, you can’t “un-graduate”. You can’t go back once the milestone has been reached. Once a person passes through the portal of death, and that person sees what’s in store for them based on their decisions in this life, there’s no going back. (Forget for now the few people who have claimed they came back from the dead). The works we did as acts of obedience and love will matter about where you will be IN heaven. But works anyone does as if those are required to earn their way into heaven, will be incredibly disappointed and broken.

But the story of Lazarus in Luke 16 tells of a story where a rich man lived a life of luxury, and Lazarus survived from the scraps from his table. But the lack of wealth or the amount of wealth wasn’t the question. It was what each person did with it. When each one “graduated” to the afterlife, the rich man who trusted material things ended up in torment, and Lazarus, who put his trust in Jesus Christ, ended up in “Abraham’s bosom” in heaven. There is a “central diploma” authenticating every person’s conversion, and that’s the Lamb’s Book of Life”. If a person’s name is on their actual diploma, they are allowed to go to their new address where a place has been prepared. If the person’s name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life, they are allowed to occupy their new residence at a new address in heaven where a place has been prepared.

“Lord, thank You for bringing us a vision from the basic events of life to easily portray to non-believers the ways You point to every day. Allow us the boldness to bring this aspect to their attention so they may be at the heavenly address after our passing; in Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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