If heaven were a holiday spot, would it be as popular as Queensland's Gold Coast. I think people would say, “Heaven? Yeah, we intend to go there sometime. But right now we're saving up to go to Water World.”
Of course, if you ask a group, “Who wants to go to heaven?” everyone will raise their hands. But if you ask, “Who wants to go to Sizzlers?” the next thing you know, the whole group has raced to the car, and some impatient soul is honking the horn urging you to hurry up and get in. Excuse me for saying so, but it's just not right when the eternal reward of the redeemed generates less anticipation than potato skins and chocolate mousse.
Perhaps heaven needs better advertising. Even if you read the Bible word-for-word, you don't find much promotion for heaven. We hear that it's the kind of place where a lion lies down with a lamb. This makes it sound like a wonderful place to take the kids. But what if you're a middle-aged adult who is allergic to large cats? Where's the golf? Where are the antique stores?
And don't try to whip up excitement by mentioning the free harp lessons. Deep down, people are not interested in playing a harp. When they were in high school, they didn't dream of starting a band in which they strummed a harp in front of thousands of crazed fans. I'm just saying that heaven would get a lot more out of its advertising dollar if it promised that all the redeemed will play the guitar like Eric Clapton.
Speaking of unusual promises, the founders of Islam tell us that each believer in Paradise will have a tent, made from a hollowed-out pearl, 100 km long. And every man will have a minimum of 72 wives.
I can only speak for myself, but the addition of 71 wives does not seem like a drawcard. I have enough trouble cleaning hair clogs out of the shower drain with one wife. And who could afford 72 wives? According to the law of averages, at any given time of the day or night 26 of your wives would be at the mall. At least two more would be attending Tupperware parties.
On the other hand, if your house is the size of Paris, France, you're going to need a few extra hands to help with vacuuming.
Each idea we hear about heaven elicits a variety of reactions. I've heard a rumour that we'll wear robes of light. People who like to be comfortable around the house might say, “Great! If it's a bathrobe of light, count me in!” But other folks might complain that they prefer the slimming effect of dark colours.
So perhaps it's best not to get hung up on the specifics—the literal aspects—of heaven: Will my frequent flier points still be valid? I have one friend who has expressed concern that she will not be able to take her Creative Memories albums to the New Jerusalem. And if you are concerned about wives, to whom will I be married? (Christ had something to say about this one. See Mark 12:19-24.)
There is only one fact about heaven that we need to know, and it's this: Jesus will be there. It is His place, and He is in charge of the programming.
If you know Jesus, you know that He has a long history of surprising us with blessings that are far greater than what we could imagine. In advertising, sometimes the best strategy is to simply feature a name everyone can trust.
Reprinted, with permission, from Women of Spirit.