Three times (Rev. 21:8, 27; 22:15) the book of Revelation lists people who will not attain eternal life. But will those who receive eternal life really be the fortunate ones? Would you really want to do exactly what you are doing right now forever? Is it possible that eternal life could get a bit boring after a while? A former teacher used to tell the following story.
A fisherman dreamed that he was in heaven. An angel came up to him and said, "I understand that fishing is your favorite sport. I have just the place for you." He then took the fisherman to the best trout stream in all the universe. Delighted, the fisherman began pulling in some real big ones.
After a year the angel reappeared to find the man happily fishing away, a 10-foot-high pile of large fish on the ground behind him. The fisherman said, "This has been great. I love heaven. How about we go find another stream?"
"This is the best trout stream in the entire universe. I'm sure you will be disappointed with anything else."
"You're right," the fisher said. "This is the best!"
He continued fishing for 10 years and by now had a pile of fish 50 feet high behind him. When the angel returned, the fisherman repeated, "This has been great, but let's see what else there is."
Again the angel replied, "This is the best there is. You have the best stream and your favorite hobby. What else could you want?" So the man fished for another 90 years, and the fish pile was now more than 300 feet high. When he finally saw the angel once more, the fisherman pulled his rod out of the water, slammed it to the ground, and said, "I'm sick and tired of this! It's the same thing again and again. This isn't heaven--it's hell!"
Smirking wickedly, the angel said, "It took you 100 years to figure it out?"
To live forever is not enough. An excess of pleasure and wealth will not guarantee that eternal life will retain its flavor. The joy of eternity will be found in the depth of relationship with God and others and in the work we will do to carry out God's ultimate purpose for us and for the universe. The good news is that we can begin living the life of heaven now. To know and obey God will be our science and song throughout eternity.
Lord, thank You for this glorious vision of a New Jerusalem. May this vision keep me focused on the things that truly matter.