A friend shared this on Facebook the other day:
“If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked the children in my Sunday School class.
“NO!” the children all answered.
“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?”
Again, the answer was, “NO!”
Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my wife, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked them again.
Again, they all answered, “NO!”
“Well, I continued, “then how can I get into Heaven?”
A five-year-old boy shouted out, “YOU GOTTA BE DEAD!”
We have failed. In a world where even a 5 year old identifies heaven as something you “get” when you are dead, we have failed.
I recall at least once when Jesus said that “unless you become like a child” you won’t enter the Kingdom.
I don’t recall a single time that Jesus claimed you have to die to enter the Kingdom.
Jesus never taught heaven or eternal life as something we get when we die.
Jesus taught that eternal life was and is knowing God. (John 17:3) He taught, variously, that the Kingdom of God is “already here,” “is among you,” will come before some of you here will taste death.
Jesus taught and lived a way of life that knows the presence, power, and love of God now – before death – so deeply that time isn’t wasted on wondering if one might have eternal life after death.
There is still time to teach our children well.