Ken was diagnosed with cancer. As the Mariners year progressed, so did Ken’s cancer. He spent his last months in his home with his wife Francie. (One of Rich and Karen’s grandkids now live in that house.) As it became apparent Ken may not make it, people talked about how it was too bad Ken may not live to see if the Mariners would win the world series… I saw Ken frequently in his last weeks. We would talk about the mariners. Even though his body was failing, his mind was good. He was interested in the Mariners. He was interested in the start of the Seahawks. But not that interested.
In the last weeks of Ken’s life, what he really wanted to talk about was Jesus Christ. He wanted to talk about the second coming. He gained energy as he considered what the Bible had to say about the last days and the mysteries surrounding the end of the ages. He dreamed about heaven and eternity and wondered what it would be like. I learned a lot about dying from Ken.
My mind went back to my own father’s death five years earlier. He died from leukemia over a three year period. Somewhere along the way I read a wonderful essay about what it was like spending time with the dying. The writer posed the question, “What do you say to a dying man that has a foot in two worlds, this world and the world to come?” the writer mused about how a person that is dying somehow is not quite as taken by the things of this world and how the things of eternity take on more importance.
Ken did not live to find out what happened to the Mariners, but he did not care. He was a man of faith who was prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. Even as he lost strength physically, he found energy in his spirit. The closer he got to death the less he cared about the previous night’s game. The things of this earth became hollow. His family was still important. He was very kind to me. And his faith increased. Ken was renewed in his spirit as he reaffirmed the blessed hope of the coming of Jesus Christ to bring salvation to the world. What a joy and inspiration it was for me to have a front row seat to watch a man come alive as he lived with a foot in two worlds.
To fully live as people of faith, let’s live as people with a foot in two worlds. I love the wisdom of Billy Graham: “Heaven is my home. I’m just traveling through this world.”
When you live with a foot in two worlds, you still care about earthly things, we are called to be responsible citizens of our communities, to serve the Lord by serving others, but somehow, the sooner we live knowing another world is coming, we gain a greater perspective of what is most important. The things of this earth, even the stress and tension and less than perfect living conditions are not as important. Nothing else will allow us to transcend the fears and doubts of this old world like a constant reminder that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming. LIVE knowing we are dying to the things of this world, and DIE, knowing one day we will live forever with the Lord Jesus Christ.
As Elijah lives out the last days of his life, it is fun to see how he conducted himself. He did not live like a man who knows his time is short. Elijah sets a great example for those who live confidently on this earth knowing the best is yet to come. Unless the Lord returns in our lifetime, our parting this earth will not be anything as dramatic as that of Elijah getting caught up in a whirlwind, fire and a chariot, but truly we can have the same trust and expectation as that of Elijah: to live forever with the Lord.
What is it like to live with a foot in two worlds?
It was a time of Watching ~ READ 2 Kings 2:1. We aren’t told how they knew, but read the entire scripture and everyone knew the time was soon coming when Elijah would be caught up in the whirlwind. The Bible records only one other person that was given the same gift ~ Genesis 5:21-24 tells that story of a Enoch. He was a man who walked with the Lord. When his time here was over, God simply took Enoch, “he walked with God then he was not”! I do not know why God chose to take these men directly to heaven, but it is an unmistakable reminder a greater world that is coming…
Everyone seems to know what is coming. Elisha seems to know. The company of prophets seem to know. The whirlwind and chariot wasn't a secret!
Keep watch we are told for the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus predicted it during His life, READ John 14:3. The New Testament authors predicted it repeatedly. Paul, John and Peter all wrote about it. There is no excuse for the coming of Christ taking anyone by surprise. If you believe the Bible you know the Lord Jesus Christ is coming again. Live with a foot in two worlds, this world and in the sure and certain hope Jesus is coming again to redeem those that put their faith and hope in Him. There is no excuse for not being ready for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ!
If you are saved and aren’t quite sure you are living a life that is honoring God, then do something about it! We may disagree about how to understand this present world, how to clean up the mess, but let’s be unified in our conviction that Jesus Christ is coming again and everything will come together.
If you have never accepted Jesus as your savior, now is the time for you to embrace the things of eternity. When you live with a foot in two worlds, the coming world allows us to be optimistic people believing God knows exactly what he is doing and the promise of the Lord Jesus Christ will overtake our sin stained present world. Give your life to Christ because there is a greater world that is coming….
Live with a foot in two worlds. WATCH. And as Elijah watched, he WALKED!
As Elijah is expecting this great promise of being taken up by a whirlwind to unfold, he just keeps doing what the Lord tells him to do. When you live with a foot in two worlds, just keep walking. That’s my only strategy in Sumas. Please, please, please, don’t anyone tell Chad my secret that I really have no idea what I am doing in this Church and community in how to grow the Church, how to reach more people for Christ. The only thing I know to do is to keep WALKING. The secret is that I am incompetent, so I just keep moving, hoping nobody notices.
When I was growing up in this church, my 5th grade (or 6th?) teacher was Ross Massey. I remember Ross teaching about the second coming of Christ: We need to be ready. We need to be right with God. In my young days as I listened to stories about Jesus coming with the blast of the trumpet, on the clouds of heaven, having a strange thought: “I hope when Jesus returns I will not even notice, because I will be so busy doing his work.” The point: keep walking, keep walking… a greater world is coming, but while we wait with a foot in two worlds, keep walking.
Elijah keeps walking… On their way from Gilgal… they went down to Bethel…the Lord has sent me to Jericho… READ 2 Kings 2:6. The day he is to be taken, the two of them walked on… That’s how you live with a foot in two worlds ~ keep walking. What we miss when we don’t know the geography of Israel, is that God sent Elijah on a circular path. Gilgal is steps away from the Jordan.
As long as you have breath, keep walking wherever the Lord sends you. In each of these places no doubt there were groups or people that connected with Elijah, people to teach, encourage, love. There is purpose in our walk. But there are also lessons to be learned in each of these places. If you get in my car and we drive around Sumas and go down Vancouver St., I am likely to tell you, “That’s where I grew up…” Each of these places has emotional significance….
A 1000 years earlier, when Joshua entered the promised land, the Jordan river parted, and the people crossed the Jordan on dry land. The first stop: Gilgal. This is the place of new beginning. A place of rest. As you go through your spiritual journey on this earth, with a foot in two worlds, the Lord will take you to your own Gilgal, a place of rest, a new beginning. Safety and preparation. A time to renew your covenant with the Lord.
Next is Bethel. It was at Bethel that Jacob met God, Gen. 28:11-22. Bethel was the place of revelation. Jacob laid down his head and had a dream of a stairway to heaven with angels ascending and descending. READ Gen. 28:16-17. Bethel was the place where God became known. As you walk on this earth God will reveal himself to you, giving you revelations, reminders that heaven is our home….
Then comes Jericho. A place of victory! For the people of Israel, Jericho represented the power of God to give victory in the day of battle. This was the place of their first major conquest in the promised land. I imagine Jericho to be a place for Elijah to remember all the victories he enjoyed in his life ~ fed by the ravens, the oil that never went dry, the child come back to life, the victory at Carmel, all flooded the prophet's mind. As you walk you will experience victory because the Lord is with you.
Finally back to the Jordan. For Israel, the river Jordan marked the end of their wilderness wanderings and the arrival to their new home. Is it any wonder the Jordan River is the place where Jesus Christ was baptized ~ the end of something old and the start of something new. Listen again to 2 Kings 2:11-14. The Jordan is the place where you die to your old self and rise again to a new life in Christ. The fact that the water of the Jordan divided again when Elisha struck the water indicates to me it is time to go into the world, to keep walking, to keep watching, as we wait for that blessed hope of the return of Jesus Christ. For Elijah it was a whirlwind, for us, it is the second Coming of Christ.
Live with a foot in two worlds, this world and the world to Come. WATCH and WALK. Keep watch for the coming glory which gives a heavenly perspective to the things of this earth. And keep walking, and your path will lead to new beginnings, revelations of God, victory in Jesus, until you finally arrive at your heavenly home. Amen.