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You’ve seen the images. Brave men and women jumping out of helicopters into icy cold waters or crossing a rushing river, to a rescue a near drowning person. Or another inching through a cave on their belly to find the dreadfully lost and trapped. Or a neighbor or fireman running into a burning house because someone was left behind in the fire.
What do these very real tragedies have in common? First, death was inches or seconds from taking someone- who even days or hours earlier was in complete control of their lives, but now found themselves not in control but in peril, clearly destined it seems to die.
And then just over the horizon a helicopter comes into view over the choppy water. Or a voice calls through the choking smoke- “Is anyone there!” Or a light brightens the suffocating darkness and a persons hand stretches into that tiny crevasse and the voice from the other side says, “Here, take my hand!”
But a successful rescue, by nature, invariably demands a risk of life to the rescuer, whose only desire is to get there in time. And tragedy comes without announcing itself, whether in a burning car or wasting away in bed with cancer, and the death awaiting is eternal and painful and ever so lonely.
But a different rescuer has now come, who knew that his life would be absolutely demanded of him in exchange for the life of the one being rescued. Jesus Christ has rushed into our eternity and extends his hand to pull us from a certain eternal death and into a certain eternal life. And in doing, He exchanged his life for a death certificate. His perfection and holiness for our sin. And he did it when those perishing didn’t realize they were even in danger. The only question that remains is, ‘will we choose life’ ? Will we reach out our hand, will we call out in our darkness? Unfortunately many do not though our Father and creator has made a way. Just as He has spoken in Colossians 1:13-14 “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

If you don’t know Jesus. His hand awaits. All that’s required is that you and I, reach out and turn our backs on the place we were trapped, and then simply grab hold. Jesus has a grip that never slips. I hope you choose life. I pray you grab hold.

What’s in Your Urn?


What’s in your Urn? It might sound like a silly take-off of a popular credit card commercial, but it is a question that paints a picture of your life up to this point, and in your days going forward. It’s the most important question you will ever face. The Urn is only a device. It gives the living something to hold onto. But in reality we know that it holds little more than ashes and maybe the odd dental filling, but not much more. ‘What’s in your Urn’ is a question that’s been rolling around in my head over the last month or so because I think it offers an opportunity to chart other courses.
It’s a wise person who takes the time to consider their life before the opportunity is lost. What is in my Urn? To the dead, it includes every investment they ever made. It’s every house, car or boat they ever purchased. It’s every cent in every bank account, it’s every vacation ever taken, every dress or suit ever worn. To the dead it was the temporal, the physical, and it’s worth now, means nothing. And if we were to consider it even more, possessions, are never really possessed, because we don’t have the means to hold onto them, just as we don’t have the means to hold onto the last breath in our lungs. And to those we leave those possessions to? They won’t have the means to hold onto them either. So what’s the point I’m getting to? ‘Significance’. What did this life mean? What was poured into our Urn? What is the sum total of the ‘things’ we worked for and tried holding onto?
You’ll pretty much be immediately forgotten in a real way by 98% of the people you ever encountered and if by chance you were somewhat famous, in just over a few generations chances are you’ll be nothing more than a notation, a photo in a book, a check mark in the family genealogy. It can be pretty depressing to think about. That’s why many many people never ask- “What’s in MY Urn”. And I would normally agree that it is depressing, if it weren’t for the fact that I take ‘the eternal’ into consideration.
What is ‘the eternal’? The eternal are the things that in this life we couldn’t hold onto, or touch or see. Even the non-religious place a certain amount of hope in ‘the eternal’. ‘Good deed’s’ for instance. Some people hope that on their last day that their ‘good deeds’ will have outweighed the bad. Many believe that the sum total of their lives will be weighed on a scale, and that the good in their Urn will outweigh the bad in their Urn, and that if there is a good reward, they will inherit it in the after-life. It’s a nice thought isn’t it? But of course little thought is given, to the one who is in charge of remembering, and the measuring stick used to make the determination and the accuracy of the scale that is used to weigh it on.
If a scale is weighing, then it will come down to who it is that is holding that scale, and since they are the ones holding it, it would be they making the final determination. For those who say they don’t believe in the scales of judgment, in right verses wrong, bad verses good, this is all foolishness. The unconvinced don’t care about what comes after life. They don’t believe that their acts of good meant something at all, and don’t equally believe that their bad should have mattered. They are convinced that God doesn’t exist and therefore scoff at judgement. But saying or believing that Justice has no bearing on life (or on death for that matter), is on it’s face foolishness, because while they were living, they acted like judgement was very necessary. That the bad should be ultimately punished for, things like stealing or murder or for those who inflict pain, whether physical or emotional onto others. In fact they counted on judgement, they took hope in judgement and reassured themselves concerning judgement. In their hearts they said “what goes around, comes around” “Karma’s a …” “He or she will get what’s coming to them.” We as humans hold to a very high standard and secretly hope that if not punished in this life, that there is a god who will ‘in the final roll call’, weigh people out on the scale of justice. So back to the question. “What’s in your Urn?”
If you really do hope for justice, then justice is what will be filling your Urn. Your hope for good, outweighing your bad. But. But what if you’re not asking the right question? Then maybe your hope is misappropriated. What if ‘the one’ who is doing the weighing, is using a different set of weights on that scale than the ones you imagine? What if, the one doing the weighing, and meeting out justice, doesn’t have a variety of weights but has only a single weight in their hand. And what if the weight is stamped with only a ‘single weight of measure’? What if that weight is stamped with the word- “Perfection”. What if there is no ‘weighing the good, against the bad?” If that is the case, then there would have to be a perfect ‘Being’, who would know all things, see all things, and perceive all things through the lens of perfection. That being (God) would also know the motivation of men’s hearts and know if the good we did, was for ‘all the right reasons’. Nothing would be hidden from their eyes. Based on that ability, then who would be able to stand up even to the lesser standards we set for ourselves and not to mention the standards we hold others to? How will we fair, when we measure ourselves in the spotlight of perfection?
In the end, it only makes sense that our lives are held up against the standard of perfection, because only against that perfection can anything impure, wrong, hateful, selfish or self-centered, pain-inflicting, angry or unloving- be measured. It is the most accurate of weights on the scale of right vs. wrong, life vs. death that there could ever be. And what will be the counterweight sitting across from that balance weight of perfection? When ‘we’ are eventually weighed in the balance? In the Words of God, He says- “There are none who do good, no not one.” “All have fallen short of the glory of God”. God says of good works – (the ones we had hoped would tip the scales in our favor with) – “Your good works are as filthy rages-(ie: dirty toilet tissue). Scales are mentioned several times by God. One example of a scale being used was in relation to an evil king and God spoke directly to this particular king who mocked Him, and said ““You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” God basically said, ‘you don’t measure up’. Hours later, this king was slain by his enemies.
“Not FAIR, not FAIR!” some will protest. “If you are God, then you made my Urn, you made me who I am, it’s your fault God. If you gave me a free will to do whatever I wanted and then had the gall to weigh me against the standard of perfection, then of course ‘my Urn’ is going to have some sin in it. Who’d make it then! No one can meet that standard!” And you’d be 100% correct. 100% right. We can’t. All our Urns would be filled with sin. That is of course unless God was willing to step onto the scale himself on our behalf. And that is of course what God did.
God has always known that we wouldn’t pass muster, that in the face of perfection that we would be found guilty and that from the beginning of time knew that we would deserve the harshest of all penalties, which is eternal death, eternal separation from God, that we would be cast into outer darkness and away from ‘the God we never wanted in the first place’. Hell.
In heaven there are no Urns. There is only relationship. Love. Perfection. God has always known he would have to pay the ultimate price. And so, He not only made a way to pass on His perfection to those who couldn’t achieve it but it came at the highest of costs. He gave His beloved son Jesus on the cross of Calvary. The scale of perfection was weighted with the blood of the sinless one, so that the sinner who wanted off that scale, could do so.
It comes down to one basic question. “What’s in my Urn”. Will it be imperfection or will it be my personal acknowledgement of Christ and His sacrifice? If we are willing to acknowledge what now inhabits our Urn and to receive what Christ has done on our behalf, He has chosen to, and will stand on the scale in our place. He took the sin and ugliness that inhabits our Urn, poured it over his body and and then taking and carrying all of our darkness and ugliness said, ‘I will pay the price, I will pay the penalty’.
Are we willing to step down off that scale, look upwards and hand our Urn up to Him and to say: “Jesus I have nothing to give but my sin? I know what’s in my Urn. Please take my sin upon yourself and fill it with your perfection”. It’s humbling to say the least. I’ve handed my Urn up to Jesus, and hope you will to.