“I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The pastor stood looking at the young woman with not long to live, not knowing quite what to say.
The young woman explained. “My grandmother once told me this story, and from there on out, I have always done so. I have also always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending church socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favourite part because I knew that something better was coming, like a velvety chocolate cake or deep dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance! So I want people to see me in the casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them: ‘Keep your fork… the best is yet to come.’”
The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman goodbye. He knew this would be the last time he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She knew that something better was coming.”
We are wise people to know where we are going. The wonderful truth, at the heart of Christianity, is that we have been made for a bigger purpose than living on earth and then simply to push up the daisies. And since it is God who has made us for eternity it should come as no surprise to us that He has told us exactly how to prepare for death and eternity.
We do not have to rely on the testimony of those with near death experiences – whose testimony is so inconsistent. No, we rely upon the testimony of God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who so clearly came from Heaven and then conquered death through His bodily resurrection, in order to provide the way to Heaven itself.
Physical death is not our only obstacle. The judgement of God needs to be reckoned with. And this is exactly what Jesus dealt with when He died on the cross. The apostle Peter put it ever so succinctly when he wrote: “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
One of our problems in our part of the world is that earth is so good – it offers us so many good things to enjoy that we forget not only our Creator but our need for forgiveness. Indeed every time we take up our forks and enjoy a meal our thoughts should go upwards in gratitude and forward in anticipation.