As we viewed my father-in-law’s body in his casket at the funeral home, one of his sons took his dad’s hammer and tucked it alongside his folded hands. Years later, when my mother-in-law died, one of the children slipped a set of knitting needles under her fingers. Those sweet gestures brought comfort to us as we remembered how often they had used those tools during their lives.
Of course, we knew that they wouldn’t actually need those items in eternity. We had no illusions, as the ancient Egyptians did, that tools or money or weapons buried with someone would better prepare them for the next life. You can’t take it with you! (Ps. 49:16–17; 1 Tim. 6:7).
But some preparation for eternity had been necessary for my in-laws. That preparation had come years before when they trusted Jesus as their Savior.
Planning for the life to come can’t begin at the time of our death. Each of us prepares our heart by accepting the gift of salvation made possible by Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross.
At the same time, God has made preparations as well: “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). He has promised to prepare a place for us to spend eternity with Him.
Father, we're grateful that we will have a place with You one day. Thank You that you will fill us with joy in Your presence.
God gives us time—to prepare for eternity.
Preparation was an important theme in Jesus’s final teaching time with His followers. His “upper room discourse” opens with the promise of a place in the Father’s house (John 14:2), where Jesus would go and prepare a place for His followers. The imagery of a prepared place in the house of the Lord was not new. This same idea brought comfort to David, who sang, “Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the