I can learn a lot by listening to what my church members say.
Recently, a church member asked if animals go to heaven. I gave her a long theological answer, but one of my members had a simple, clear answer. I told her that the prophet Isaiah described paradise as a place where the wolf will live at peace with the lamb, the leopard with the goat and the cow with the lion (Isaiah 11:6). Some may argue that Isaiah was only using a metaphor and not speaking literally.
However, several scriptures describe our eternal home as “a new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17; 2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1), apparently referring to a paradise that is like earth restored to the perfection it had before mankind fell into sin (Romans 8:21; Revelation 22:1-3). So if heaven is a restored earth, why not have animals to bring us joy?
When I described this answer to one of the men of my church, he simply drawled, “Everybody’s gonna have at least one good dawg.” Well, there you have it.
Another time I was talking about how bad things are in our world, and a member said that Jesus is coming back soon.
“I’m packed. My bags are ready,” she said. A man listening to her said, “I hope He waits until after the Effingham/South Effingham game!”
We clergy tend to make things so complicated, but the laity cut to the chase like a knife through melting butter. They’re looking forward to heaven, but first, they would like to finish some things here on earth.
So Christian, what things do you want to accomplish before Jesus comes back? How about leading your family and friends to Christ, and making sure that you leave behind a legacy of faith that someone will carry on? If you do, that should be worth at least one good dog.
(Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers. Email: email@example.com. Read this column each Friday in the Herald. Visit my blog at www.bobrogers.me.)