Study: Consider this – if my life ended today, would I be prepared? Is there anything in my life that needs to be said or done, anything that requires attention?
Pray: Do I need to ask the Lord for strength – especially to do something difficult or challenging? Is there something that requires God’s grace to accomplish?
Serve: Do I know someone who could use help to face an obstacle to Heaven? How can I support them in their journey?
I love to read mysteries. I like the way they tease my brain with surprise facts, last minute insights, and clues (both helpful and misleading) which point to the solution. Mysteries intrigue me, and I enjoy them largely because they keep me guessing until the end.
When I am in the middle of the book and no end is in sight, I begin to wonder, “What comes next?” Sometimes my curiosity overcomes my patience and I am tempted to read the last couple of pages to find out the answers. I want to know! I might be rooting for the villain, or failing to give credit to the hero.
Mysteries often remind me that there is more to the story then first appears. As new facts are added the truth becomes visible, but often in an entirely different way. The end can be a complete surprise as information and insight shape the story.
“What comes next?” is not only true for mystery novels but applies to life as well. Our faith in Jesus Christ holds at its center that there is life after death. We believe that death is not the end; indeed, it is a gateway to an eternity where we may spend it either in union or isolation from God – otherwise know as Heaven or Hell.
We speak of the afterlife quite frequently in our prayers and common speech. But what does it mean to profess that death is not the end of existence? How does a belief in the afterlife shape our thinking and our actions? Two thoughts surface.
First, a belief in life after death tells us that there is more to the story of our lives. This world is not the end, and many of the beliefs and convictions that we think are important might not be as crucial after further reflection.
Second, if we acknowledge that there is more to life than just this world, then we are bound to consider how we wish to live as we prepare for the world to come. Ideas such as power, wealth, and prestige just don’t seem to carry as much weight in Heaven. (The power comes from God, wealth has no purpose, and everyone is loved and esteemed…)
When we think about “What comes next?” in our lives we our challenged to examine if we are living with the full end in sight. The Scriptures today invite us to consider that if we take our future afterlife seriously, then we may rethink how we live today.