Several years ago I attended a football game which was the first event in a community’s weekend-long all-school reunion. The home team won the game, so the weekend was off to a great start. It was an exciting game, with the young quarterback completing several long passes.
After the game, everyone gathered in the gymnasium for a program honoring several coaches and athletes from past years. A 40-something former quarterback got up, shared some memories, and then had a few words for his old coach, who still was the football coach and had just led his team to victory. The old quarterback was a good speaker and the crowd loved his humor and the memories he shared. As he finished, he said, “Coach, you have really changed. When I played for you I always wanted to try the long pass, and you never let me. All you ever wanted to do was have us run the ball. But with you now allowing the passing game, I would love to play for you again sometime. Maybe in the next life we can get the old team together, and you can be our coach and I will be your quarterback.”
Everyone laughed as the old coach made his way to the microphone. He was an ex-marine and a no-nonsense sort of guy. He looked at his old quarterback and said, “What makes you so sure that in the next life we will be in the same place?”
Again, everyone laughed. But the laughter seemed a bit more subdued this time, and perhaps even a little nervous. It may have been my imagination, but whether or not he intended it, I do believe the old coach’s words raised questions that went far deeper than the joking. It could not help but raise in people’s minds the question of where do we go from here?, and, how do we get there?, and, will we all be in the same place?, and how can we know for sure we are on the right path? Most of the time, most people don’t even pay any attention to those questions. The old coach’s reply made all of us think about those things for at least a few moments. And we should do some thinking about what is next. Is it safe or wise to just assume all is okay, even when so little attention is paid, and so little is understood and believed, by so many?
Acts 16:29-31 — The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved– you and your household.”
II Peter 3:9 — The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
John 3:16-17 — For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
O, God of all comfort, I give you thanks that you have revealed to me your dear Son, Jesus Christ, in whom I believe. I know of no one else in heaven or on earth in whom I may have safe refuge except in Him. Without this hope, I would be lost. I pray Lord Jesus, let my soul be commended unto you. O heavenly Father, although I must be torn away from this body and must leave it, I know that I shall remain with you forever, and that no one can ever take me out of your hands. I rely on this assurance, and will gladly leave this life in it. Amen. –Martin Luther