From that time on, Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”
Matthew 4:17 niv

The other night on the news, the reporter profiled a man well over one hundred years of age who competed in the Senior Olympics. I looked at my husband and said, “Just think – in fifty years you could be an athlete!”

A look crossed his face that I can only describe as one of horror. Still be here in fifty years? No, thanks.

You see, just a few days ago, my husband preached a sermon on Heaven. Where is it? What will it be like? Who gets to go? All this talk of going to be with Jesus sparked a deep longing in his soul.

My husband shares a lot in common with the apostle Paul, for he felt the same way. He wrote to the church at Philippi, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:21-23 nkjv).

Paul knew he had a mission to complete, and accepted his call gladly, yet he still had an intense yearning to be with Christ. Either way, he was content.

When I became a Christian as a child, I realized I\’d made Heaven my destination, but I never gave much thought to how soon I\’d arrive. As I\’ve gotten older, I, like many Boomers my age, think more often of eternity. Maybe you\’ve found yourself pondering where you\’ll go when you die. Perhaps Mother and Dad have already gone on. Many of us have friends who\’ve moved to that better place.

This world is not our final home. In the book of Revelation, John tells us he saw a new heaven and a new earth. One day we will go to a better place – a place of eternal joy, too wonderful to even imagine. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Nearing retirement, we make many preparations for our economic security. This, as Martha Stewarts says, is a good thing. But with all your stocking up and saving, don\’t neglect to prepare for your soul\’s eternal destiny. Have you made Jesus your Lord and Savior?

The elderly man competing in the Olympics bemoaned the fact that he was the only person in his age group. He had outlived all his competitors. That\’s one way to win!

Prayer: Oh, God, help me to do your will on earth. Ignite in me a fiery determination to tell others of your love and great sacrifice to save our souls. Thank you for the promise of Heaven – my eternal home. In Jesus\’ Name, I pray. Amen.

Children's author and inspirational writer, Donna J. Shepherd, looks at everyday life and finds God's fingerprints everywhere. From bird watching to the Beatitudes, Donna's writing touches the heart with wisdom and humor while feeding the mind with daily portions of God's Word. She is currently a columnist for The Dabbling Mum and a staff poet for The Inspiration Station. Her articles and poetry have appeared in Reminisce Extra, Just Between Us, Guideposts for Kids, Penwomanship, Sisters in the Lord, and many more. Her devotionals appear in Daily Grace for Women, Devotional Reflections to Nourish Your Soul (Honor Books), and Anytime Prayers for Everyday Moms (Warner Books).