August 20, 2012
The Things of Heaven
There is an old legend of a swan and a crane. A beautiful swan alighted by the banks of the water in which a crane was wading about seeking snails. For a few moments the crane viewed the swan in stupid wonder and then inquired: "Where do you come from?"
"I come from heaven!" replied the swan.
"And where is heaven?" asked the crane.
"Heaven!" said the swan, "Heaven! Have you never heard of heaven?" And the beautiful bird went on to describe the grandeur of the Eternal City. She told of streets of gold, and the gates and walls made of precious stones; of the river of life, pure as crystal, upon whose banks is the tree whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. In eloquent terms the swan sought to describe the hosts who live in the other world, but without arousing the slightest interest on the part of the crane.
Finally the crane asked: "Are there any snails there?"
"Snails!" repeated the swan; "No! Of course there are not."
"Then," said the crane, as it continued its search along the slimy banks of the pool, "you can have your heaven. I want snails!"
Many look at John’s description of the New Jerusalem and Heaven, and it all seems so unreal to them that they just dismiss it. They have set their sights on the things of this earth that give them pleasure here and thus reject any notion of the unspeakable joys of heaven. In so doing, they are just as silly as the crane that digs through the slime and mud looking for snails, when they could have the riches of heaven.
Let’s not be guilty of this. Let’s set our hearts on the things that really matter – the things of heaven.
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