Today was a crazy day. I am in the middle of re-constructing my basement and spent 8 hours trying to finish some of the major work. So today, I will share a story rather than my usual writings.
There were two men who had been friends for years. When they were young, they played ball, climbed trees and played games together. As they got older they played soccer. One was a defender, the other a goalie. Together, they were unstoppable.
When they graduated high school, they went off to different colleges. One was studying Physics, while the other studied Biology. Although they were in different places, they kept in touch. Each week, they would call each other to see how things were doing. They talked about their girlfriends, the parties and the curriculum. They debated various theories but always ended their conversation on a positive note.
One day, an angel came to one of the friends and said, “I have a ticket to heaven for you. All you have to do is take it and keep it safe. When the time comes that you die, you will need this ticket to enter heaven. Would you like this ticket?” The man thought for a moment and said, “Absolutely. I would love to be the keeper of this ticket. I will take care of it and hold onto it even as I face death.” The angel gave him the ticket and then suddenly disappeared.
This ticket was weird looking. It has been folded in a specific way and the man felt that he should keep it as it was given to him. He placed it in a special holder that he held close to his heart. Nothing was going to ruin this ticket.
A couple of years later, both men had gathered at the local bar. The man with the ticket started to explain what had happened a couple of years earlier. How he met the angel, what the angel said and the ticket he had been given. The other man snickered for a moment and said, “Are you sure the ticket is all you need? Don’t you need to do good things as well? Think about it, if you can prove you’re worthy then they will probably let you into heaven.” The other man explained the ticket was a gift and could not be bought.
The other man suddenly had another idea. He said, “How about you give me half the ticket? This way we both have half the chance of getting into heaven.” The man with the ticket thought about it for a moment. He loved his friend so much that he thought to himself, “What if he is right? What if I give him half the ticket and he does get in? We could spend eternity together.”
The man with the ticket agreed, took the ticket out and ripped it in half from top to bottom. He carefully handed half the ticket to his friend and said, “Here you go. Hopefully this works.” The other man said, “Don’t worry, I’ll keep it safe.”
Years passed by and both men had gone their separate ways. For years each man had years of joy and years of struggle. Neither man had a perfect life, but a satisfying one. When they reached their later years, both men suddenly died the same night and were taken before the throne room of God.
God saw both men and said, “Do you have your tickets?” The man who was handed the ticket by the angel said, “Here is my ticket.” God asked, “Why is your ticket ripped in half?” The man responded, “Forgive me Lord. My friend wanted half the ticket because he thought if he had half of it, he would have half the chance to get into heaven.”
God then turned to the other man and asked, “Where is your ticket?” The man smiled, reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of paper. “Here it is”, said the man. God asked, “Why does it look like this? You were supposed to take care of the ticket.” The man answered, “Oops. Sorry. I kept it in my pocket for years.” The wad of paper was tattered and torn.
God then turned to both men and said, “To the one I originally gave the ticket to, come into my presence and enter heaven. To the other, get out of my presence. You cannot enter heaven.” The man who had the tattered half ticket objected and yelled, “But God. Don’t I have half the chance as my friend? He has only half a ticket also.”
God turned to both men and said, “Let’s see. I will unfold each of the half tickets and that will determine where you are going.” Both men agreed and God started to unfold the tattered and torn ticket. As He laid each piece carefully on the floor, the man who had that half ticket noticed something. It was spelling a word. After God unfolded each piece, he said, “Your ticket says ‘HELL’. That is where you will go.”
The man with the tattered ticket then asked, “What about his ticket? Doesn’t his spell ‘HELL’ as well? He also has only half a ticket!” God turned and started to unfold the other half. As He unfolded it, both men noticed that it was still one piece of paper. This time it didn’t spell a word. God said, “This man will enter heaven, while you are going to ‘HELL’.” “But how can that be?” asked the man with the tattered ticket.
You see the half ticket that was given to the original man unfolded to a cross. God explained, “The cross is the only way to heaven. This man had the cross safely on him near his heart. He willingly shared the story I gave to him as a gift. You did not take care of your ticket. You kept it in a pocket, rarely seeing what you worked for. You allowed your portion to get washed in the laundry and sat on. You did not take care of the gift I have given therefore, your ticket spelled ‘HELL’.
Ponder this story and ask yourself this question: Am I taking care of the gift God has given to me? If you can’t positively answer this question remember, Jesus came to die for you and I. He is the only ticket to heaven. You can’t work for it. If you try to work for it, all you will have is a tattered life that leads to hell. If you accept the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, you will take care of the life He has given to you. It is only by the cross that we can enter heaven.
God bless and encourage someone today.