An old song - the kind that used to be called a "negro spiritual," but nobody knows what they're called in our "kinder, gentler" day - appropriately reminded us that "everybody talkin' 'bout Heaven ain't a-going there." Lately, I've been wondering how lots of people who talk about Heaven would respond if they actually ended up there.
Have you ever been in a situation where people thought you were something you are not? Even if it wasn't your fault, you don't know quite how to respond. Everybody around you assumes you're one of them, but you're not - but you don't want to embarrass either them or yourself, so you just nod and pretend you know exactly what they're talking about? And you escape as soon as possible.
Or have you ever attended an event where you obviously made a mistake in the expected dress code, but you just had to tough it out? Maybe you're the only one without a tie, or women's slacks aren't allowed? You travel for miles - or maybe to another continent - to see a historic site, but you aren't allowed to enter because of inappropriate dress? (Women, take note! You can't wear shorts in St. Peter's in Rome - or at least you couldn't the last time I was there.)
But you get the picture... There are situations we find ourselves in where we are highly uncomfortable, feel awkward, and are eager to leave.
I'm convinced Heaven would be like that for lots of folks who talk alot about going there.
I've always been intrigued by the rich man in Jesus' story about Lazarus the beggar in Luke 16. The formerly rich man is in Hell (actually "hades," but that's a topic for another day); he can see Lazarus in "Abraham's bosom" and carry on a conversion with Abraham, but he never asks to be allowed to join Lazarus - even though he apparently sees the good things Lazarus is enjoying!
So, the question presents itself: Wouldn't it be awful to be required to spend an eternity in a place where you just didn't fit in? Wouldn't that be kind of like, well, hell?
Isn't it likely that everyone in Heaven actually wants to be there? That Heaven's inhabitants would feel that they really belong?
Of course, that presents another obvious question: Are you - am I - the kind of person who would enjoy spending my time with Jesus and people who were seriously attempting to be like Him?
If we're thinking about going to Heaven, maybe we ought to be becoming the kind of people who would actually enjoy being there.