If, like me, you grew up in church, there is no doubt that you heard many sermons reminding you that you cannot take anything with you to heaven when you die. There is even a supporting scripture. Job said; “Naked I came into the world and naked I will return.” Job 1:21 (NKJV) Just to be clear, what I am about to share with you does not contradict that oft quoted scripture.
The first thing you will be able to take with you is the prayer list that you have engraved in your heart for your loved ones who are still here on earth. While it may be challenging to prove biblically, I have always believed that our loved ones who have gone on before us and are in Heaven can and do pray for us.
I remember an occasion when I commented to a grieving congregation that a recently departed and greatly loved member was up in Heaven still praying for his church and family down here. Emotions were running high and many were very grief stricken. One person in the congregation later challenged my statement, asking me if I had an scripture to prove that those in Heaven were praying for those still on earth.
I took that persons challenge to prayer. The first scripture which came to me was Hebrews 12:1a; “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded with such a great cloud of witnesses,” (NKJV) Although that scripture does go on to talk about the way we live our lives it does seem to indicate that to whatever degree, God does allow people up in Heaven to witness what we do here on earth, although possibly only at specific times.
Secondly, a clear example of a person praying from the other side ironically does not come from Heaven, but from Hell. In Luke 16:47, Christ told his disciples that, “The rich man cries out from Hell, (In other words, prays) ‘Father Abraham have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ (NKJV) As I read these verses, I felt that my belief that people are praying in Heaven is reinforced by the fact that the Bible gives an account of an unanswered prayer uttered in Hell! If they are praying in Hell for those on earth, don’t you suppose that they are praying even more for us in Heaven? The scripture also tells us that “He (Jesus) ever lives (In Heaven) to make intercession for the saints” Hebrews 7:25 (NKJV) If Jesus is praying for us in Heaven is it too far a stretch to believe that those who are there with Him are praying for us as well?
When my Grandfather Howard Burnham went to Heaven, he was highly honored and respected in his community due to the fact that he was a very godly man. Interestingly enough, in an amazingly short period of time after his passing several of his young adult grandchildren rededicated their lives to Christ. I was one of them. I was always settled on the fact that when Grandpa Burnham got to Heaven, he went right to work praying for all of us. So yes, I believe that when we pass, one of the things we take to Heaven is the prayer list that’s written on our hearts.
The second thing, which I believe we will be able to take to Heaven with us when we go, is our knowledge of the scriptures. Not only has Bible study been a necessary part of our Christian growth here, can you just imagine what it will be like to meet Noah, Moses, David, Isaiah, Deborah, Joseph, or any of the Bible characters, and most wonderfully, Jesus? Wouldn’t it be embarrassing to not know the stories of the people featured in the Bible when we get there? So yes we will be able to take with us all that we learned, and most especially what we have learned, about our Heavenly Father!
Thirdly, you will be able to take with you your testimonies and memories of experiences with Jesus, which you had while you were here on earth. Oh wow, are we going to have a ton of those “remember when” moments talking face to face with our Lord. As for any questions we may have had for Him, they will no longer matter! They will be forever behind us!
Fourthly on the list, and the one probably that should have been first, you will be able to take with you all the souls that you have won to Christ “figuratively speaking”. All of those you prayed for. All of those classes you took on “How to lead someone to Christ” will have all paid off because the best fruit that you can have to prove that Jesus really has been the “Lord” of you life will be the fact that He was able to use you to lead others to Himself. They will be there, having either arrived before you, or back on earth, waiting for their promotion day into that beautiful golden city!
The last thing that you can take to Heaven will be your thankfulness for all that Jesus has done for you while you were here in this life. You will have millions and millions of years to express your thanks to Him in praise and worship to Jesus surrounded by God’s Heavenly choir. You will rejoice as you remember every trial, test, and tribulation that Jesus ever brought you through and shout and sing and dance with your glorified body that you will be given in Heaven. There will be no more suffering and no more tears. You will be joyfully joined with your loved ones forever and ever in God’s beautiful city never to be separated again. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. I personally cannot wait to get there! Let’s not forget to pack!
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.