A Theology Lesson From My Microwave

by Kevin Burton

   Did you ever heat something up in the microwave and then forget you did it?

   Maybe you’re getting ready for work or are at the beginning of any hectic day. You may have a dozen things in progress and you are in preparation mode. You forget your snack, your mind moves on to other things. Then you go back to the microwave to see what time it is.

   And the microwave screen reads “End.”

   I smile every time I do that, because sure as 4:09 comes around exactly twice a day, there will be a moment when time equals “End.” This is true for us as individuals and for the world as a whole.  I ask myself and you, are you prepared?

    In our lives we have goals and obligations. We prepare for them and that’s a good thing.  For me that includes roles as a husband, son, sibling and friend. My former roles include coach, teacher and mentor. Many of us play multiple roles in life. 

   We wouldn’t dream of showing up to work without the proper tools, to a ball game without hours of practice time behind us, to a spouse’s birthday celebration without those special smile-inducers that show how much we love and appreciate him or her. 

   Failure to plan equals planning to fail.  You’ve heard that one, right?  So how is it that when it comes to preparing for the end of life, we can be so haphazard?

   “He who does not prepare for death is more than an ordinary fool—he is a madman,” writes Alistair Begg, pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio and speaker on Truth For Life, a national radio and television ministry. 

   My former Sunday school teacher used to ask us what we should be focused on by writing an equation on the chalkboard; one over infinity.  The one of course represents this life, infinity the afterlife.

   He knew how to drive home a point.

   The Bible says there are two destinations waiting for man when earthly life ceases, Heaven and Hell.  Before we look at those destinations, let’s take a step back to see how we got here.

   For evidence on the certainty of death, go to Hebrews 9:27 “..it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment.”

   The basis for the judgment mentioned in Hebrews is unforgiven sin, as mentioned in Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death..”

   We know that every person ever born has a sin problem from Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

   There you have it, all have sinned, all must die, sin to be judged, man at the crossroads of Heaven and Hell. 

   For the teaching of Heaven and Hell as the only two afterlife destination, you might start with Matthew chapter 25 with some parables taught by Jesus. But this concept can be found throughout the Bible.

   For an accurate look at Heaven and Hell, let’s first dismiss some earthly definitions.

   “Heaven” is not a defined as a truckload of your favorite ice cream or your team winning the Super Bowl. “Hell” is not defined as a roommate who doesn’t clean up his messes and plays his music too loudly.  You’ve heard that, right, “the roommate from hell?”

   Not a useful concept here. All those things, life’s annoyances big and small, have passed away now.  Remember, the microwave says “End.”

  Wouldn’t it be great if you could go to triple-A and get a tourism book covering Heaven and Hell?  Well the Bible contains lots of information. It’s not packaged like the triple-A book, but it is there.

   One important distinction: while Miami or Montreal might be tourist destinations, Heaven and Hell are both eternal destinations. We will take a longer look Sunday on Page 7.

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