Keep Your Fork in Your Hand
There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live. As she was getting things “in order”, she contacted her pastor to make a home visit to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes. She told him which songs she wanted sang at the service, what scriptures she wanted read, and what clothing she wanted to wear at burial. The woman also requested to be buried with her favorite Bible.
When everything was finalized and the pastor was leaving, the woman suddenly exclaimed, “There’s one more thing.” The pastor asked, “What’s that?” As he turned, he saw that she had left the room and was in the kitchen. He heard her rummaging around as she called, “This is very important.” She embarked from the kitchen with a fork in her hand. “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand”, she proclaimed.
All the pastor could say was a slow, “Well…” “That surprises you, doesn’t it?” the woman asked smiling. “Does it show?” the pastor asked. She nodded. The pastor acknowledged that it did seem rather strange.
The woman exclaimed, “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember when the main course dishes were being cleared from the table. Someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork!’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful and with substance! I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder, what’s with the fork? I want them to know that the best is yet to come!”
The pastor’s eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the woman goodbye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But, he also knew that the woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She KNEW that something better was coming.
At the woman’s funeral, people walked by her casket. They saw the pretty dress she was wearing, her favorite Bible, and the fork in her right hand. Over and over the pastor heard the question, “What’s with the fork?” And he just smiled. During his eulogy he told the people of his conversation with the woman shortly before her death, and what the fork symbolized to her. The pastor further explained how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told the crowd that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.
“The next time you reach down for your fork”, he continued, “let it gently remind you that the best is yet to come.”
Sometimes in moments of meditation, I try to think about what God has in store for us when He returns or when we are ushered through death’s door into eternity. The apostle Paul hints that it will be awesome when he wrote these words in I Corinthians 2:9:
|“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the hearts of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”|
That verse grabs my attention. I am spellbound by what I have seen of God’s great wonders. My mind can’t even begin to imagine what He has left to share with us.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that we will spend eternity in some sort of glorified retirement community. Neither can I conceive of us sitting in angelic bathrobes playing harps throughout eternity. Eternity will not be a ho-hum, boring experience at all. I visualize eternity as a continual mind expanding unfolding of God’s plan of the ages and am firmly convinced that God has quite a great adventure in store for us. The Bible never tells us exactly what eternity will be like, but it does give us some clues. We do know that God shall wipe away all tears, and that there won’t be anymore crying, nor death, nor sorrow, nor pain. (Revelations 21:4) One of the most interesting clues is when the Bible tells us that we will rule and reign with Christ. Think about that! How are we going to do that? Over what shall we rule and over whom shall we reign? I don’t know. But I do know that God can do anything He wants to do. Perhaps He will create worlds for us to rule. Who knows what adventure awaits us in eternity. I do know that a great deal more awaits us than we can ever imagine. God has some things in store for His people in the “age to come” that will absolutely astound us.
When I was a boy growing up at home, Mom’s baking day was a much-anticipated event for me. I can still recall the mouth-watering smell of bread, cakes and cookies baking in the oven. My favorite part of it all was when Mom would let me lick the cake-mixing spoon clean. I can almost taste it now as I tell about it.
When the evening meal was served and it was time for dessert, the rest of the family could only imagine how good that cake was going to taste, but not I. I knew what was in store. I had already been given a sampling and as I picked up my fork…I knew that the best was yet to come.
Psalms 34:8 invites us to
“Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
As you do, keep your fork! Remember, “the best is yet to come.”