Somewhere on planet earth is the oldest person. And somewhere lives the prettiest and most homely. Located in one of the nations is the world’s wealthiest, the world’s strongest, the world’s smartest. Just where these extraordinary people are, only our God knows.
Somewhere, only our God knows, is the dumbest christian alive, probably ever so slightly dumber than the second dumbest.
The Lord calls us sheep, a fitting description because sheep can be simple minded. In every flock can be found the one who stays closest to the shepherd, and also the one who strays further than all other strays. Somewhere in Christ’s universal church can be found both the most fervent and the most slack christian. Where he/she lives only our God knows.
This slack christian bears fruit, but only a tiny amount. Good thing he (she) isn’t entirely fruitless or the Vinedresser (“My Father is the vinedresser”) would eject him (“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away”).
This guy started off well. He was “a wise man” who heard the gospel and responded. Eventually, only our God knows when, he became “a foolish man” who rejected The Great Invitation to abide, in a meaningful way, in Christ. Was it love of money, love of self, love of whatever? Only our God knows. When he appears before “the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” he will be most forlorn and regretful. He will be one of many who “will be saved, yet so as by fire”. (See note # 1.)
Yes, somewhere someone has earned the distinction as the world’s most feeble christian. Who this person is, only our God knows.
And somewhere on one of the seven continents is the most successful non-christian. Perhaps he is an honored leader of a primitive tribe with lots of subservient wives and dozens of kids who think he’s the greatest. Perhaps she recently won a beauty contest and has been selected by classmates as the most likely to succeed. Perhaps he’s one of millions of salesmen throughout the world who can count on being greeted by a respectful wife and adoring children when returning home after another prosperous day. Perhaps she is an arabian princess who has been doted over all her life by loving parents and servants, and will have the pick of handsome and wealthy suitors. Where exactly this most successful non-christian lives, only our God knows.
And yet the eternal outcome of the slacker is enormously superior than that of the thriver.
(See note # 2.) In the New Jerusalem city where the slacker is headed, there are thousands of paradise parks, none the same, some more glorious and radiant than others. In these parks are houses of different size and grandeur. The most glorious location in New Jerusalem is the very summit where Christ is seated at the right hand of His Father. Obviously, there has to be a least grand and glorious park having a least enviable house. If our slacker spent his eternity there, perhaps the furthest place from “the throne of God and of the Lamb”, life would still be much more than a thousand times better than life on earth.
The Bible teaches there are degrees of torment in hell. Let us suppose our most successful non-christian was a compassionate woman who lived respectfully, gave to the poor, was faithful to her family – and ended up in the least terrible vicinity in hell. Nonetheless, her eternal life will be much more than a thousand times worse than anyone on earth.
It is better to be the slackest christian than the most successful non-christian, though both will be regretful.
Note # 1: Hopefully nothing in this chapter suggests eternal security (once saved always saved).
Note # 2: Suggested reading: Heaven and the Angels, by H.A. Baker.