What happens after a person dies? My uncle recently sent me this story, author unknown, that tries to answer that question.
On the outskirts of a small town, there was a big old pecan tree just inside the cemetery fence. One day, two boys filled up a bucketful of nuts and sat down by the tree, out of sight, and began dividing the nuts.
‘One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me,’ said one boy. Several dropped and rolled down toward the fence.
Another boy came riding along the road on his bicycle. As he passed, he thought he heard voices from inside the cemetery, so he slowed down to investigate. Sure enough, he heard, ‘One for you, one for me, one for you, one for me…’
He just knew what it was. He jumped back on his bike and rode off. Just around the bend he met an old man with a cane, hobbling along.
‘Come here quick,’ said the boy, ‘you won’t believe what I heard! Satan and the Lord are down at the cemetery dividing up the souls!’
The man said, ‘Beat it kid, can’t you see it’s hard for me to walk?’ When the boy insisted though, the man hobbled slowly to the cemetery.
Standing by the fence they heard, ‘One for you, one for me. One for you, one for me.’
The old man whispered, ‘Boy, you’ve been tellin’ me the truth. Let’s see if we can see the Lord!
Shaking with fear, they peered through the fence, yet were still unable to see anything. The old man and the boy gripped the wrought iron bars of the fence tighter and tighter as they tried to get a glimpse of the Lord.
At last they heard, ‘One for you, one for me. That’s all. Now let’s go get those nuts by the fence and we’ll be done.’
They say the old man had the lead for a good half-mile before the kid on the bike passed him.
That boy and the old man had a very interesting view of God and what happens after people die!
While we might take issue with their theology, we can agree with them that something does after to people after they die. We believe that there is an eternal destiny for all.
Therefore, a significant element of the mission of God’s Kingdom has been that Christians tell the story of hope that we have because of what Jesus has done for us. We don’t have to look at life beyond the grave with fear because we have hope in Christ. Additionally, Jesus said that the hope we have in him matters before we die. We believe that becoming a disciple, a follower of Jesus, gives us hope for eternal life after death, and gives us hope for best possible way to live now. We believe that God is preparing a place for us in heaven, and he is seeking to transform society now! Eternal life in heaven, abundant life on earth. That’s how we summarize this amazing Kingdom of God.
As Peter continues teaching the Christians in the Roman Empire around the year 65 AD, he now teaches them about how to live out this mission of God’s Kingdom among people who might be antagonistic or atheistic, agnostic or apathetic.
So please read 1 Peter 3:13-17. This week we’re going to see how Peter instructs Christians to talk about this hope they have.