[PART 4 OF 5]
I believe that the story of Santa Claus is the story of God!
In the last article, we discussed Santa’s list. We noticed the similarities between Santa’s “nice” and “naughty” lists, and God’s. In this article, we will continue to explore the parable-like nature of the Santa Claus story, and its ability to help us understand God a little better.
3. The Gifts
Thinking back to the “nice” and “naughty” lists, everyone knows that Santa Claus rewards nice children with wonderful gifts, while naughty children are punished with lumps of coal in their stockings. In our spiritual lives, a similar reality exists.
If you’re not on God’s “nice list”, then you’re automatically on His “naughty list”. The Bible tells us very plainly that the choices we make in life will have an impact on our eternal destiny.
Matthew 12:36-37 … Jesus says that we “will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word” we have spoken. “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” Choose your words carefully.
Matthew 25:31-46 … Jesus says that, on judgment day, He will separate all the people who have ever lived into two groups. The group on His right, who He calls the “sheep”, will be given entrance into heaven to live for eternity. The group on His left, who He calls the “goats”, will be banished to eternal punishment. What is the difference between these two groups? Why are their eternal destinies so completely different? The difference is in the way they treat people. The sheep people care for those who are less fortunate, comfort those who need comforting, and visit those who need visiting. The goat people simply fail to do those things. They fail to act with compassion toward their fellow man, and it will cost them their souls for eternity. Choose carefully how you treat other people.
2 Corinthians. 5:9-11 … The apostle Paul says that “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.” The choices we make while we are alive on the earth, the things that we do “while in the body”, will have an impact on where we spend eternity. Choose your actions and habits and behaviors carefully.
In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus talked about two roads. One road was narrow and led to a small gate. Few people traveled this road. The other road was broad and led to a wide gate. This road was crowded with lots of people. Which road would you choose? If I were setting out on a road trip to New York, I would first get out my map and plan my route. I would probably choose to travel on major highways that are well-marked and easy to find. If I were to break down on a well-traveled road, it would probably be much easier to find help. If I were to break down on an isolated back road, however, I could find myself in a real pickle.
On the road of life, however, it is just the opposite. Jesus said that the broad road that was well-traveled leads to destruction, or hell. The narrow road that is more difficult to travel leads to life, or heaven. I get to choose which road I will travel as I journey through life, and that choice will determine my destination. Which road are you traveling? Choose wisely.
In Revelation 20:11-15, we learn the fate of those whose names are not written in the Book of Life, those who are not on God’s “nice list”. Those people will be thrown into the lake of fire. Make no mistake about it. God will punish those who choose not to follow His ways! That’s the really scary part.
But here’s the really cool part. According to Hebrews 11:6, God will also reward those who diligently seek Him, those who do choose to follow His ways!
Since I get to choose, I prefer the reward to the punishment. I prefer heaven to hell. So that means that I have to choose the narrow road over the broad road. Even though it may be a more difficult journey, and even though I won’t have as much company, I must choose the road less traveled. As Robert Frost said, that will make all the difference!
Part 1: “The Santa Claus Factor”
Part 2: “The Santa Claus Factor 2”
Part 3: “The Santa Claus Factor 3”
Part 4: “The Santa Claus Factor 4”
Part 5: “The Santa Claus Factor 5″
Next: “The Santa Claus Factor 5“