Kathy Hoare - Visiting Worker to Maroota - 2012

Hymn 399 – In Vain Do the Wise

2 Corinthians 5:1, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” Most of you have been sleeping in little tents these days. They are adequate and you have had rest and shelter there, but tomorrow all those little tents will be folded up and put away, and it will all be a memory. Even though we love convention, we know we cannot be here forever. You cannot compare your home with your little tent. A tent is very temporary and fragile and our lives are just like that, but we are looking forward to our eternal home. Perhaps those who are nearing the end of their days realize that they have put a lot of things out of their little tent because they don’t mean what they used to mean to them.

I have been away from Australia for five years and I love my countries of labour, but I always have the thought of my homeland; it is a comfort that I am a citizen of Australia and not a foreigner. As the time to come home got nearer, that was all I could think about, “I am going home.” I labour in countries with very few friends, and we have a little convention of maybe twenty people. So it has been wonderful to enjoy this fellowship and everything that I love about my country.

I was thinking of the things that are already in heaven waiting for us. Luke 10:20, “Rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” It is amazing to think that our names are written in heaven. God knows your name and He knows my name. When we made our choice to follow Jesus, our names were written in the book of life. It doesn’t really matter what happens to us, the thing we can rejoice in is that our names are written in heaven, so long as we remain faithful. Some of you will go home to your families, and we have this family that is part on earth and part in heaven. Hebrews 12:1 speaks about a cloud of witnesses, and Hebrews 11 is about faithful lives. It is not that the ones who have gone before us are watching us, but their lives are a witness to us. They were overcomers who clung to the promises of God. In our own families, we have those who have gone on before and their lives are a witness to us.

Our overseer mentioned this cloud of witnesses, and he pointed out that Adam and Eve did not have a cloud of witnesses, but then Abel died and they had a little cloud of witnesses which grew from that time on. It is a comfort to think that there will be a wonderful reunion of those who are in heaven and the faithful here. 1 Thessalonians 4:17, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Peter 1:4, “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” A natural inheritance can sometimes be gotten by illegal means and then it can be frittered away, but this inheritance is incorruptible and fades not away. Something that is reserved is especially for you and nobody else can claim it.

We have the privilege of leaving a heritage to those who are following on. It is not like an inheritance of property, but it is something that is not tangible. 1 Kings 21:1, “Naboth the Jezreelite had a vineyard, which was in Jezreel, hard by the palace of Ahab king of Samaria.” Naboth inherited a vineyard from his parents. As a young boy he would have worked in it and kept it clean and pruned, and he wanted to pass in on to his children. But right next door was a palace of stone and mortar, and a king lived there. The king wanted this vineyard to plant herbs and spices but Naboth would not sell his inheritance. Verse 3, “The Lord forbid it me, that I should give the inheritance of my fathers unto thee.” Satan doesn’t want the fruit of the spirit. He wants your vineyard, just to produce the fruit of the flesh. We have to remember the beautiful children that are following on, and the best heritage you can give them is to love God, to love the meetings, to love the workers. It is far better than any natural inheritance.

So, it is wonderful that we know part of this inheritance now but there is this wonderful incorruptible inheritance waiting in heaven. 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” This crown of righteousness is waiting for those who faithfully endure. I just enjoyed thinking about these things that we can look forward to, and that our names are written in heaven. Hebrews 12:22, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven.” In the column of my Bible it says “enrolled.” Sometimes, parents want to send their children to a private school so they enroll them when they are very young, and nobody can take that place away. It is waiting for them.

A list of names was mentioned this morning. It reminded me that at our convention overseas, there is a certain place where the visitors can go for lunch. I have already visited that lovely place; it is built up high, overhanging a great river and you can see all the boats on the river. On this particular day, we were told that if we had already been there, we might not be able to go this time so I didn’t expect to hear my name but I was still listening for it. Right at the end, perhaps 10th out of 11 names, I heard my name. It reminds us that when we meet our Saviour, our Lord, our God, we do want to hear Him say, “Welcome, thou good and faithful servant, your name is here, your place is here and you can enter in.” We don’t want to forget what we are aiming for. May we take courage and comfort because there is so much in heaven that has already been prepared for us. Aim for it so that it can one day be our possession.