By Dick Brogden

Three unconnected Christians died on the same marvelous day and entered their heavenly home together. Sister Pam, Farmer Jaeger, and Businessman Bob met at the gates of glory and introduced themselves to one another before quietly walking through.

Lined with giant oak trees, the path gently rose up a pleasant hill. The rise of the hill became the immediate horizon, obscuring the pilgrims’ onward view. All was quiet and calm, and the three friends walked on gladly.

Cresting the hill they saw an immense valley and in the center was a radiant city. Broad avenues from four directions converged on the city, their path being but one of the four. The avenues were slightly sunk into the valley floor, with natural grass terraces cascading down towards them. Along the broad path of these three new arrivals was a magnificent crowd, multiple thousands deep, stretching all the way to the city steps. There were millions of beings along their road, angelic and the redeemed.

As Sister Pam, Farmer Jaeger, and Businessman Bob crested the hill, the throng of millions erupted into a thunderous roar. They cheered. They clapped. They whistled. They lifted their hands to pump their fists. They high-fived the pilgrims and each other. They cried. They smiled. They jubilated.

The three pilgrims were stunned and stopped in their tracks. The crowd roared even louder as intimate friends and family detached themselves from the cacophony and ran up to gather the pilgrims in fierce hugs. Their loved ones grabbed their hands and propelled them onward—the noise and acclaim somehow increasing as they walked.

The path brought them to a series of elegant marble steps that led upward towards the joy of their being, for Jesus stood radiantly at the top of the stairs. He just stood there smiling.

The crowd fell into a comfortable silence. The families and loved ones of the pilgrims released their hands and let them climb the steps alone. The pilgrims climbed steadily, eyes transfixed on Jesus. Their legs climbed slowly, but their hearts and spirits raced forward, embraced and enveloped in love and satisfied joy even before their bodies arrived.

They reached the top step and stopped. And Jesus smiled and simply said:

Hello, Beloved. Welcome home.

Jesus turned His attention to Sister Pam, and in an instant all the weariness of a difficult life vanished. He said to her:

Pam, I’m so proud of you. You endured rejection, loneliness, and pain with great grace. You fed the hungry, welcomed the abandoned, loved the least and the lost, served the church, given to the poor, and you did it all with joy. You kept My word and you represented My heart. You reached out to the unreached in your city and state. You translated My heart for all peoples to your local congregation. You led your leaders and your followers to have a single eye on my glory amongst the nations. Pam, I am so proud of you.

Pam smiled and looked down, her eyes filling with contented tears.

Jesus then looked at Farmer Jaeger with a twinkle in His eye.

I have a special love for farmers, and you have been a good one.

Farmer Jaeger beamed, and his weather-beaten face glowed.

Farmers understand My laws of sowing and reaping. Farmers honor me with hard work. Farmers understand seasons and anticipate harvest. Farmers are humble, loyal, dignified, faithful, and steady. Man, Jaeger, I love farmers and I love you.

You not only raised crops; you also raised godly seed. You harvested godly children who represented Me all over My earth. You prayed on your tractor, you gave in your pew, you supported your pastor, you served the body of Christ, and you gave of your best so that I would be glorified in every tribe, tongue, and nation. Jaeger, I am so proud of you.

Jaeger and Jesus held a long knowing look. No more needed to be said. The farmer just looked and nodded at His King, and both were happy.

Last, Jesus addressed Businessman Bob.

Bob, you are the real deal. There is nothing false about you, and I love that. You always obeyed me, and I love that, too. I asked you to go to Harvard, and you did it. I asked you to live in the business world with integrity, and you did it. I asked you to give generously to missions, and you did it. I asked you to carry my heart for the unreached, and you did it. I asked you to lead the missions committee at your church, and you did it. Whatever I asked, you did, and Bob, obedience is my love language. You have loved me and the nations well.

Bob just beamed.

Jesus then extended His arms out wide, as if to gather all three pilgrims in His embrace at once, smiled again, and said to them all:

Well done, my good and faithful servants. Enter into the joy of the Lord.

And the crowd roared, and the three pilgrims raced into the arms of Jesus. Family and friends raced to join the group hug. Tears of joy streamed, hearts burst, and the happy throng turned to enter the celestial city. For heaven had just conferred its highest medal of honor, and the new saints wore it well as they sauntered home.

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