When something is hand-made, it usually has more value. It indicates creativity and craftsmanship. Hand-made is an asset in temporal terms, but a liability in eternal terms. Paul said, “When this earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” (II Corinthians 5: 1)
On August 13,1995, there were some notably different approaches to life and death. The Panama City paper carried the stories of three people who died that week. One was Mickey Mantle, of baseball fame. His body couldn’t cope with the effect of alcoholism. In his last days he pleaded with young people, “don’t be like me.” The message on the scoreboard in Yankee Stadium on Sunday afternoon was a tribute to his “man-made records” in baseball. I understand he did accept Jesus as his personal Savior before he died.
Another death was Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist and singer for The Grateful Dead. Phil Lesh beat a drum in San Francisco’s Golden Park for a large crowd of mourners. Garcia’s body couldn’t stand the effects of drugs and he died in his early 50s in a drug rehabilitation center.
The other story in the paper concerned my mother, Mary Mathison, who died at the age of 82. The doctors said she died from an “overworked heart” that just gave out beating. The First United Methodist Church of Panama City was packed with worshipers who celebrated her life and her resurrection. The celebration ended with the whole congregation’s singing of “Victory in Jesus.”
My mother was depicted as a person who always stayed in the background and offered encouragement and support to her husband and two sons. She had a huge heart that poured out love on us and to all people she met. People of all races and from all economic and social levels of life who had been recipients of the love from her big heart were present. After 82 years of giving, her heart just gave out!
Mickey Mantle and Jerry Garcia left behind a lot of wealth gained from those hand-made accomplishments, but it won’t last very long. Mother left behind a long list of people she influenced for Jesus Christ. She helped change the population of heaven. I guess Mickey and Jerry got some of their rewards here – Mother is enjoying her rewards forever and ever, and ever!
In the long run the hand-made tents are not nearly as creative or crafty or as valuable as the house that is not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens! Heaven-made is a lot better than hand-made!
[The above is an excerpt found on page 73 from the book Extra Effort by John Ed Mathison. Extra Effort contains 129 devotional stories and is available through the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries.]