“If there was a genie that would grant me a wish, I would wish that I could conquer death and live forever without fear.”
I smiled as I heard my colleague’s secret desire for eternal life. Didn’t he know that we have such a genie that has made his wish a reality?
“That’s not difficult,” I told him. “There is such a genie. He is called Jesus Christ.”
“Jesus? You mean I have to go to church and be good?”
“Well…no.” I prayed for wisdom. “All that Jesus really asks is that we humble ourselves and surrender our lives to Him.”
He shook his head. “I don’t believe in Jesus. I believe in science.”
Our human pride is a formidable enemy and humility doesn’t feel good to a selfmade man, but my heart went out to my colleague. His attitude reminded me of a Christian tract I once read, called ‘The greatest fool.’
There once lived a very sad King. The poor man hardly ever smiled and his wife was getting quite concerned. In order to help him overcome his depressions, she found him a talented jester who would cheer him up. Her idea worked. The jester brought the King much happiness and the King’s entire life was changed for the better.
One day the King decided to reward the jester with a luxurious retirement.
“Jester,” the King said, “You are getting old and you have made me so very happy all these years. I am no longer depressed and I want to reward you. I will give you a generous sum of money. You always told me you wanted to see the world and travel around, so this is your chance. And since you will be walking a lot on your travels, I will also give you my favorite walking cane.”
The King picked up his beautiful walking cane that was inlaid with diamonds and was made from the finest wood.
“Because you have been such a good jester, this cane is for you. You are without a doubt the greatest fool that ever existed.” He snickered about his own joke and sent the jester away.
But a few years later the jester heard that the King had gotten very ill and was about to die. The jester desperately wanted to see his old friend the King one last time and hurried back to the palace. When the jester was allowed entry and sat at the King’s bedside he asked him,” O, King…are you ready to leave this earth?”
“What do you mean?” The King asked weakly.
“Well,” said the jester, “When I left the palace and started to travel the world I found faith in God. I met Jesus Christ. He’s my Savior. I am ready to die because I will be going to Heaven.” He looked at the King with compassion. “But you, King…have you made those preparations too? Are you going to the Kingdom of Heaven?
The King stared at the jester and a scowl appeared on his pale face. “Nonsense; I don’t believe in such rubbish. There is no God. The only Kingdom I know of is my own.
The jester was quiet and looked troubled. “I am so sad to hear you say that,” he answered. “You have no idea of the enormous gift you refuse. Jesus Christ died for you and is willing to forgive you for all your sins if you just accept Him.”
“Rubbish,” the King shouted as he raised himself with great difficulty. “I have no sins, at least not very many. I don’t want to hear about this nonsense.”
“Then,” said the jester with glistening eyes, “I must return your walking cane.” With a swift move, he took the diamond-studded walking cane from under his coat and placed it near the bed by the sick King. “You said I was the greatest fool this world had ever known, which is why you gave me the cane. And now I’ve made my preparations for a journey into eternity of which I will never return. But you haven’t made that preparation. What’s more, you don’t even want to hear about it. I just have to give you the cane back, for you are a greater fool than I am.”
Death is not a very pleasant subject and it’s easier not to think about it. Still it is a journey we all will have to take sooner or later. And yet, many people are not ready for this journey and have not made their preparations.
But death does not have to be difficult. Paul said, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” For those of us who know Jesus, death is our graduation. It’s a homecoming and our liberation from this painful world to a world of true happiness.
In that case, death is no defeat but a mighty gate to new life and to eternity. Now we are still surrounded by pain and suffering, but it’s only for a little while and then we will be set free from our earthly chains and will receive the crown of life.
But you must lay the groundwork. You must prepare.
By accepting Jesus as your loving Savior. Then you too will be ready when the day has come for you to cross the river. And until that day has come there is still a lot of good that can be done on this poor and lonely old earth.
Don’t be like the old King who died as the greatest fool that ever lived.