"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you..." So says the Apostle Peter (1 Peter 1). What a tremendous and inspiring thought - our inheritance is kept in heaven for us! Wow.
We often think of this inheritance as possessions we will receive (a mansion!!!) or of rewards of some kind or other, but maybe we should think of it more in terms of experiences we shall enjoy?
Experience is a big thing these days…
You can buy tickets for experience & adventure days: hot-air-ballooning / supercar track day / 12miles in a helicopter / Pamper days / champagne at the top of the Shard / a day at the Jamie Oliver cookery school… they all sound lovely or exciting and adventurous.
In his book Generation X (stories for an accelerated culture) Douglas Coupland has a group of friends talking about experiences – and they wanted to know from each other, "What experience in life was their best, lasting, most abiding memory." The thing is these experiences could not be bought, because “purchased experiences don’t count..."
The troubles in the Retail industry now mean that shops are closing down and they must think of new ways of getting customers through their doors. Janet Street-Porter in the I newspaper on 31 March 2018 wrote: "The buzz words of the moment 'experience' and 'relevant'. The trend is to invest in experiences rather than objects." It seems like High Street stores need to offer more than possession to be bought; they need to give experiences that cannot be purchased; shopping needs to be an experience.
And maybe we are to think of our inheritance as an experience that we haven’t bought, but has been purchased for us by another – by Jesus through his death and resurrection…
Certainly Revelation (chap 21) describes our inheritance as experiences: No more tears in our eyes / no more death / no more mourning / no more crying / no more pain / no more sin… And we are told (in v7) that "those who are victorious will inherit all this." All what? All those amazing, delightful and comforting experiences. That's our inheritance!
But actually we are told something more about our inheritance that just blows our mind… "Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory." (Romans 8v17)…. Our inheritance is the experience of ultimately joining in with the glory of Jesus himself!
In his book The Waiting Father, Helmut Thielicke writes: "For heaven does not consist in what we shall receive, whether this be white robes and heavenly crowns or ambrosia or nectar, but rather in what we shall become - namely companions of our King, who then will always be able to see him and be near to him as to a brother, no longer seeing through a glass darkly, no longer living under the shadow of the cross, but praising God with never a tear in our eyes." (The Waiting Father/143)
"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you..."