I am so excited that this week I will be talking about heaven and yet as I get my thoughts together for this Sunday I can’t help but keep thinking of Katelyn, the waitress we met at a restaurant (“Ugly Mug”), during our Ministry Leaders’ retreat in Camp May, NJ this week. Katelyn is the mother of four-year old Timothy, who goes by T.J. She works two jobs to be able to support him as she is a single mom. She is her in mid-twenties and as busy as a struggling single mom would be — she doesn’t have time for church.

When I asked Heather what was the story behind all the mugs hanging over the bar in the restaurant, she talked at length about a club of mariners (no longer active) that before they would go over to the sea would come into the bar to drink beer and wish each other good luck. Then they would hang their mugs facing the land. Some, however, never made it back, and their mugs then would be turned toward the sea. What a pretty story, I thought. And what a perfect transition to ask Katelyn where she stood spiritually.

I saw my chance so I asked her where she thought those men who had died were now. She said she had no idea. “Maybe they are fishing out there on the sea. Who knows?” That led into a brief conversation about knowing for sure where you go when you die. Katelyn, it turns out, lets somebody else take her son to church but she never goes with him. She said he keeps asking her questions about the Bible and she doesn’t know how to answer them. I told her about “Our Daily Bread” devotionals online and she was gone for a while then returned to say that she had bookmarked that site on her computer. We encouraged her to find time to go to church with her son and reminded her of the tremendous responsibility to take care of a little one.

Just like Katelyn, there are many others out there who are clueless. I want to ask you not to allow our collective Christian heritage to fool you. Being born in a “Christian” country, being part of a “Christian” family, attending a “Christian” school or even a church; none of these things guarantee experiential knowledge of Scriptural truth. That is why we have to be willing to open a dialogue with people we meet. They need to know and if we don’t tell them, who will?

150,000 people die every day and the vast majority of them die without Christ. They are headed not only to a “Christless” eternity; they are guaranteed a ticket to that other place of torment called hell.

“How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!’” (Romans 10:14-15).

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade