Vetting at the Gates

I saw a FaceBook post today.

            Remember, Heaven has a gate, a wall and extreme vetting.

            Are you kidding me? What is actually communicated in  this statement? Heaven has a different Boss and the criteria for vetting might just be different than what the rulers on earth dream up. Jesus in Matthew 7 says a good number of people will be surprised at the gates of heaven because they believe they did all the right things to gain entrance and He will say, “I don’t know who you are. You certainly don’t act like the Father in heaven. Your miracles, your prophecies and great works, your monuments to yourself mean nothing to me.” Later on in Matthew, He adds some clarification, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”  41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.”

            Last time I checked, I heard the King of Heaven sent out His son to invite all of the lost on earth to come join him. This Son went into dangerous territory. He disguised himself as a humble foreigner. He dressed in modest clothes and did not own a home. He equated greatness with humility. Jesus, who was in essence God; did not, could not utter a lie and no contradiction was found in him. Jesus said following him is hard and may cost your life. This humble king said go everywhere and invite everyone to the gates of the Kingdom. Tell them all the good news. You are loved, you are forgiven and the gift is free. Go find the lost, the lonely, the homeless, the foreigner and the refuge and invite them all. Some may kill you, many will hate you, but go anyway. Love them anyway and extend the invitation anyway. Bad things happen when we focus on putting ourselves first. What kingdom do we desire to call our eternal home?

            God is clear, He will judge people and nations based on how “the least of these are treated. God actively pursues all men, preferring that none are lost. God is madly passionately deeply in love with people, listening and understanding every story.  He is clear in His directive to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us so that we may be like Him.  I have yet to find one scripture with the words of God telling us to protect our own interests over the interests of others. Please do not confuse the extreme vetting of “the Kingdom of Heaven” with the extreme vetting of any nation on earth.  On earth, the goal of vetting is to protect land and resources from those who may pose a risk of harm. Protecting turf is more important than changing lives. In heaven, the goal is to bring all who desire into the Kingdom. The extreme vetting of heaven is God making the worthless worthy through the life, the death and resurrection of Jesus.  That is “A Reason for Joy.”

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