“One way to put the Gospel in a nutshell is this: you are more wicked than you ever dared believe and yet, you are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than you ever dared hope.”
Pastor/Author Tim Keller, 1950-2023
Shortly before his homegoing last Friday morning, May 19, Tim Keller told his gathered family members: “There is no downside for me leaving, not in the slightest.” This confident hope in his place in the heart of the father buoyed him throughout his 3-year battle with pancreatic cancer. After closing his eyes here, he opened them to see what his heart had always known. His ears have heard the ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’ His soul is afire with surrounding glory. The exchange of mortal for immortal has been made. Tim Keller is home.
There is a sense in which, from the moment we realize we are accepted in Jesus, we begin the ‘waiting’ to be home with him. Jesus told his disciples that he was going home to prepare a place for them and that in his house were many mansions. More, he promised to come back and take them to be with him there. This is the end goal of the waiting journey we are on.
Back in the Dark Ages when I was a child, receiving a quarter to spend was exciting. To receive a $1.00 bill was to be rich! It might be said that all this life on earth offers us is the equivalent of that 25₵ piece while eternity with Jesus is the equivalent of an inexhaustible supply of enriching $1.00 bills (this is such a paltry comparison!). Our problem is continuing to be so utterly enraptured with small things we can lose sight of the glories awaiting us. When the Holy Spirit fills us with himself, kick-starting a renewed perspective, ‘the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace’ (to quote the old hymn, ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus’). The dimmer the world’s goods become, the brighter and clearer and more appealing will be our inheritance in Jesus. It’ll be like the ground fog burning off on a summer morning so that we see the brilliant, cloudless blue sky above us. And then, when all our waiting is over, we’ll agree with the words of Matt Redman’s more contemporary worship song: “And on that day when my strength is failing, the end draws near and my time has come, still my soul will sing your praise unending – ten thousand years and then forevermore.” Tim Keller, now pain- and disease-free, is standing near the throne, vigorously belting out that tune! PD