My husband and I prepare for trips very differently. I am a planner and begin writing lists a week before we leave. Greg is more of a “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of packer. He will be up at midnight the night before “just throwing a few things in a suitcase.” Two weeks ago, I got a taste of the consequences of last-minute packing. We had a family emergency and I had about two hours to be packed and ready to leave my home and family for a week. There was no time to write lists, let alone plan my attire. I learned two things: poor planning results in leaving something essential behind (blood pressure medication) and it results in packing all the wrong stuff (clothes for 60-degree weather instead of 80-degree weather). By now, you are wondering what my point is. Stick with me.
As I write this, we have just celebrated Resurrection Week. Every Easter I reminisce about the days when I was part of our passion play. My favorite scene was Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. As part of the crowd, my part was to wave a palm branch and eagerly anticipate Jesus’ arrival. This marks the beginning of His road to the cross; where He willingly laid down His life for each of us. He is more than worthy of all our praise and worship. In the wake of 2020, I spend more and more time thinking about His second triumphant entry, when He will return to take His people home (1 Thessalonians 4:17). What an incredible day that will be if we are packed and ready to go. Are you?
Leaving something crucial behind can have real consequences. Without my medication, my blood pressure climbed each day and I progressively felt worse over the course of the trip. Every performance of the play, I feared forgetting the one prop I needed: my palm branch. Without it, I would have stuck out like a sore thumb and been unable to greet Jesus properly. When Jesus returns and we embark on our final trip into eternity, we will all “appear before the judgment seat of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Will you have packed the critical item?
John 14:6 says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Nothing but a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will get you to your final destination: Heaven. Without Him, you face eternal separation from God, “They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). Neither good character, good works, nor your giving statement will suffice. He alone is the cost of admission.
Unlike my emergency trip, we know this final trip is coming. I knew I had two hours to pack so I had to use my time well. Our departure into eternity could begin in two seconds, two minutes, two weeks, or two years. Only our Heavenly Father knows the hour (Matthew 24:36). Are you packing well for the trip? Are you packing the essentials or a bunch of unnecessary stuff? Matthew 6:19-21 refers to treasures on earth and treasures in Heaven. Are you packing temporal things that are here today and gone tomorrow (James 4:14) like your career, 401K, a bucket list of things to do, and places to go? Or are you packing eternal things like pursuing Christ, sharing Christ, and forgiving and loving your enemies to name a few? Who knew “You can’t take it with you” was biblical.
One final thought. If I had forgotten my palm branch in the play, I would have had nothing to lay at Jesus’ feet when He arrived. Believer, will you be empty-handed when you meet your Savior or will you be carrying crowns that reflect a life lived for Him (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)? Will you be alone or surrounded by others whom you helped in their walk with Christ?
Matthew 6:19-20 reminds us, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
Pack wisely and remember: “You will never see a U-Haul behind a hearse.”