Hold on to Your Fork: The Best Is Yet to Come
The man lay in his casket… holding a fork.
Certainly not a description I expected to hear from my husband after the funeral he recently attended, I stopped chopping vegetables to hear the full story.
The man was well-known in his large family for saying at the end of every meal, “Keep your fork! The best is yet to come!” in anticipation of the delicious dessert always sure to follow.
A former pastor, the man wisely applied this belief to life — and death. So, as a powerful symbol of the gentleman’s spiritual legacy, his family decided to bury their patriarch gripping a fork in his hand.
I cannot get the image out of my mind, this man of God holding a fork in his hand.
And I wonder… is this how I live my life — as if the best is yet to come? Is this how I am teaching my children to live their lives?
Or, instead, am I so restless in the rigmarole of my run-of-the-mill Midwestern life, in my unremarkable little corner of the world, that I unwittingly evoke a cynical is-this-all-there-is attitude?
Because I’ve always wanted to accomplish “something big” for God — something exciting and memorable, something influential and adventurous — I’ve been overly nonplussed lately by the humdrum routine of house cleaning and grocery shopping and carpooling, of dance classes and school work and home repair, of doctor visits and haircuts and dirty clothes.
But I’m reminded that even my friends across the globe — medical missionaries literally saving lives and souls for Jesus in a remote mountain village — speak of their own version of cultural tedium: imminent good-byes and guinea-pig dinners, long lines and governmental red-tape, bumpy mountain roads and unreliable workmen.
So the man holding the fork in his hand reminds me that the “something big” for which I’ve spent inordinate amounts of time searching and longing is really the Someone big who hones me and molds me in the monotony.
And so, whether our work for the Lord is lived out in teensy small-town America or in remote mountain villages overseas — in factories, schools, churches, offices, slums, farms, hospitals or homes — we must never, never expect endless wells of contentment and joy to come from what we do for God.
True contentment and joy come only from God — from the Maker Himself.
We must remember that “…now all we can see of God is like a cloudy picture in a mirror. Later we will see him face to face” (1 Corinthians 13:12 CEV). Therefore, we shouldn’t be surprised when our efforts in the here and now (even our efforts on behalf of the Lord) sometimes leave us feeling a little “meh.”
Because it is the then — the time when we’ll see God face to face in Heaven — that will bring everlasting fulfillment.
And that is the sentiment I want to pass along to my kids: a work-hard-for-Jesus-now attitude that looks ever-forward to the later, when we’ll see the Father up close and in person.
Because as good as this life can sometimes be, you still need to hold on to your fork: the best is yet to come!
This is a question I have lately considered, as illness seems to prove out the doctors’ verdict – I’m gonna die, and it won’t be pretty.
I could hold onto the hop-of-Heaven ideal, but I have the nagging feeling that I would be letting down the Almighty. I still have work to do, here, and it’s best that I keep my full attention and maximum effort on doing the good I can do in every moment.
Heaven can wait, in other words. If I am indeed part of the Body of Christ on Earth, I am expected to carry on regardless, even when God seems far away, or absent.
To paraphrase C.S. Lewis in “The Silver Chair”…I’m on God’s side even if He’s busy elsewhere. No worries, JC…I got this, and I won’t fail you.
The golden streets will come, but they are not now my business. Living the Gospel is.
So true, Andrew, that while we are here on this Earth, God expects us to carry on doing the work He has for us and living strong the Gospel that gives light to the world.
But even as we do all of that – living a life worthy of the Lord and pleasing Him in every way (Col 1:10) – I think it is important to remember that the best really is yet to come. Because if we lose sight of the hope to which He has called us (Eph 1:18), then we are in danger of clinging too tightly to the things of this world… some of which are very good indeed.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments! Many blessings to you.
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