The road finally ended at the gate. I looked over my shoulder at the road with its caverns, gullies, twists, turns, forks (those forks) and death traps. Long time coming. The gate was kind of pearly, like they said.
Peter was at the gate. He was dressed with blue jeans and a shirt with a boat on it. His hair was tied with a fish net and he had an anchor tattoo on one shoulder.
I had no doubt where I was going to end up. The gate was closed and I strode confidently to Mr. Peter.
“St. Peter, I presume. I’m Dave”.
“I know who you are”, he said, towering over me. “Well I guess you want me to open the gate, let you in, and then you can live happily ever after. Am I right?”
I looked at him and thought sarcastically “Well, is there a problem?”
Peter said ”for administration purposes, I just have a couple of questions. The boss, you know”.
Cool. “Fire away,” I said.
“Do you remember the time that I was down on skid row when you were walking to your office? I was a nickel short for a cup of coffee and I asked you for it,”
“What do you mean, Sir?” I asked.
“I was standing on the corner. You were coming from the courthouse. You walked right by me. You not only didn’t have time, you didn’t have the heart or the inclination. Remember now?”
I did. But I wasn’t ready to cop yet. “That wasn’t you, Sir. That was a drunk”.
“The guy was pretty trashed, wasn’t he? Easy to ignore, as you did. Have you ever heard the term ‘The least of them, my brethren’”?
“Yes I have heard of it, Sir. But could you enlighten me as to its applicability in this particular situation?”
“When you do it to the least of these my brethren you do it to me.
“And what about the time I was hungry? Sad? And in need of a kind word? Where were you then?’ You didn’t recognize me, and you should have. And that’s how you should be judged. Am I right?”
I was terrified now. This was the case of my life. So I told Him about all my good works.
“I commend you for all your good works, Dave. But you must know that not everyone who says ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter His Kingdom. You knew to do good and you didn’t.Are you not judged by your actions? This is an exclusive club, Buddy, and not just anyone can waltz in here.”
Now it was getting serious.
“But St. Peter, Sir, I came all the way up that road. Can you reject me for just a few momentary lapses?
“Son” he answered, “I stand here at this gate day after eternal day. I’ve heard it all. I have guys here who even say they have done miracles in the name of the Lord and other great and mighty works. And I have to tell them all the same thing as I told you. What are you going to do for Him? Are you going to give Him something He doesn’t own already?”
I felt myself slowly sinking lower and lower, along with my heart. Bring on the little guy with the pitchfork, and light me up. Maybe all my friends would be there, like they say. Matter of fact, after all this I KNEW they’d be there! One more try.
“Do you see where you were wrong, Son?”
“Ya, but is it worth eternity in the hot place?”
“Let me tell you something, Son. A long time ago, before there were worlds were, He had you, and me, in mind. He knew what was in man before He created him. But in spite of himself He made a plan. So he made man lower than even the least angel. He sent His Son, who was also, for a while, made lower than the angels. And the son was sacrificed for you and me, and despite our failures and shortcomings. I want to officially welcome you to the Kingdom of God, which, by the way, is a free gift. I think you’ll agree now that you didn’t earn it.. Come. Sit at His table, which is prepared for you. The welcoming committee awaits. The gates opened and I saw the warm comforting light, anticipating the joys that lay before me.
And I whispered “Thank you” and stumbled in.
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