My dad was a friendly and caring man who loved to socialise, usually with a beer in his hand. His nickname was ‘Duncan’ – from the Slim Dusty song – because he liked to talk about being a responsible and moderate drinker. Dad never held grudges, he refused to say a bad word about anyone, and his greatest strength was the ability to use humour to lighten up tense situations and to get people to come out of themselves. His recent death was a shock, and I will miss him.
As I reflected on dad’s life – in particular, his ability to bring life into social events – I was reminded of the time that Jesus saved a Wedding Party from fizzling out by turning water into wine. When his mother Mary asked Him to help with a wine shortage, Jesus told the waiters to fill 6 large water pots with water, and let the head waiter taste them. The head waiter was impressed because the wine was top quality. Jesus saved the party and showed people that God is not against good wine or good times.
BUT Jesus also talked about another party that would be held in Heaven – a party where everyone will be rejoicing, because there is no more sin, or suffering, or sickness, or cancer or sadness or death; and because it is God’s extravagant love and forgiveness that makes it possible for them to be there. He said,” I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME, EVEN THOUGH YOU MAY DIE, YET YOU SHALL LIVE. WHOEVER BELIEVES IN ME SHALL NEVER DIE.”
Jesus is not against good wine or good times, but He is against us frittering away our lives in self-indulgence and foolishness, as if what we do today has no bearing on our future. He came to save us from our sin, and to give us a new life, the life God always purposed for us. He does not promise that your life in this world will be one big party – because that’s just not possible in the world as it is – but He does promise to be with you every step of the way, and He does promise to have a place in Heaven prepared and ready for you, and anyone else who’s coming.
So, if you want to get into the Heavenly party that never ends, you need to accept His invitation while it remains open. Only Jesus can get you in, and no gate crashers will be allowed. The devil’s party, on the other hand, is not the place to be – unless you prefer weeping and gnashing of teeth, instead of joy unspeakable.