A man took his wife to her high school class reunion one weekend. At the reunion, there was a guy out on the dance floor – break dancing, moon walking, doing back flips, making some incredible moves. He was the life of the party, showing off his dance skills.
At one point the man’s wife turned to him and said with a smirk, “See that guy? That’s Billy. Thirty years ago he proposed to me, but I turned him down … for you.”
“Oh re-e-e-e-eally?” the husband said, “Well, Sweetie, it looks like he’s still celebrating!”
I recently attended a training session for a ministry group and one of the speakers, author Gary Stanley, looked out over the trainees and said, “Wow! This is just like a class reunion, but without all the baggage!”
Go to a class reunion and you’ll discover a lot of “baggage” – good and bad – from the past. There are good baggage labels: Class President, star athlete, “A” student, etc. There are bad ones too: “loser,” class rebel, party girl … and worse.
When I attended a 30-year reunion a few years ago, people there had changed a lot. (Not me, of course.) Not only were some of the “beautiful people” fatter and balder, many of their circumstances of life and choices changed their basic identity. I know I surprised some people. No longer was I the quiet, mousy girl, afraid and avoiding people. Now I was an author, a speaker, the head of a women’s ministry and leading in another. “What happened to you?” one woman said. “You’re not the same Dawn I remember!” (To which I thought, “Thank you, Jesus.”)
After the reunion, I sat down to think about all I’d heard and observed. The thought occurred to me that someday Christians will attend another kind of reunion when we enter eternity in heaven. It will be a joyous occasion, but there may be some surprises.
No doubt some will be shocked that Sister So-and-So is there; and maybe that dear sister will be amazed to see them too! Perhaps our mouths will drop open when we see those who receive special rewards from the Savior.
Now the truth is, we’ll probably all be so focused on Jesus, so grateful just to be there, we won’t even see anyone else for a while, let alone consider others’ positions or awards. We’ll all be so overcome by God’s amazing mercy and grace.
When I decided to attend my 30-year-reunion, there were a number of things I did to prepare; and these are the same kinds of things I want to do to prepare for that reunion in the sky. Let me share a little about that process.
How to Prep for the Heavenly Reunion:
1. Make sure you have the proper directions. I got my GPS and made sure I wouldn’t get lost when I went to the 30th reunion, and if you want to arrive in heaven, you want to be sure you know how to get there!
Thomas asked Jesus, “How can we know the way?” and Jesus replied, “I am the way” (John 14:5-6). Gary Stanley shared with me at the training meeting that the word way actually is a word with the connotation of a “journey.” We’re on a journey with Jesus into eternity. We only get to heaven through Him; there is no other way (Acts 4:12).
2. Clean up and dress up. Though I looked nothing like I did 30 years ago, I still “cleaned up” pretty well. When you attend heaven’s reunion, you’ll want to be at your best.
3. Think about the others you’ll see there. I couldn’t wait to see my old friends at the 30th reunion, and I’m anticipating reunions with people in heaven too.
We’ll see the Lord, of course, but think about loved ones who have died in Christ. What a blessing it will be to see my dad and my grandparents. But I’m also thinking about some people I won’t see, if they don’t embrace what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for them. This motivates me to share the gospel!
4. Study for influence. Now this one may sound strange to some, but before I went to the reunion, I did some research. I wanted to know more about the event, what to expect so I’d know how to act. I studied a bit about the people who would attend so I could better interact with them. I wanted to make a good impression and perhaps have an opportunity for networking and influence.
Spiritually, I’m preparing for eternity by studying to be a “a workman and not ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15). I study the Word of God so I can know how to apply biblical truth in my life and share it with others. I want to please the Lord and be a positive influence for the Kingdom, because I’m going to live there for a long, long time.
Friend, we’re all preparing to spend somewhere in eternity. Our preparations now – our choices – are so important.
Are you sure you’re going to heaven? If so, what are you doing to prepare for eternity?