How to respond when hearing about heaven

Published 2:46 pm Tuesday, July 19, 2011

By REV. GEORGE HOLLIS / Guest Columnist

To me, when Jesus uses a parable, it is like saying that this message is so important that it has to be told in a parable.

Matthew 13:1-23 is about how four different people respond when hearing Jesus describe the Kingdom of Heaven.

Christ says there are four different responses.

The first type of person is one who does not see the slightest truth in the Kingdom of Heaven.

To this person, the idea of heaven is like a fiction novel. It is all fantasy for the weak-minded.

The second person responds with a happy understanding, but when they are teased about their understanding, they quickly fall away.

These teases are like: You’re not one of those holy rollers, are you?

Do you really believe a dead person came back to life? People want to fit in.

The third type of person receives the news of heaven with happiness and lives in joy for a while. Then hardships come, and they fall away.

This world has its cruelty. Children die before parents, old age crushes our bodies, trusted friends turn disloyal and life does not fit the paradise they thought Christ promised.

In the last group, the news of heaven fits all they had believed and perceived.

It is an “epiphany” moment where things in life all come together.

We are not the end of life’s development. People are special in their complexity and beauty.

Love is an ointment that can heal our wounds. This group lives for, hopes for, the time when they can go to heaven. Thank you, Lord, for revealing the truth about how we fit into your universe.

I love you and all those you have created. Forgive me, Lord, of my sins, and let me live in your house forever.

The Rev. George Hollis is pastor at Cahaba Valley Church. You may reach him at