A story is told of a man who died and went to Heaven. He told Peter how grateful he was to be in such a glorious place, and he asked Peter to give him one glimpse into Hell so that he might appreciate his time in Heaven even more. Peter granted his request.
In Hell, he saw a long table extending as far as the eye could see, full of the most delicious foods, but everyone around the table was in anguish and pain, starving to death. The man asked for an explanation and Peter answered, “Everyone in Hell must take food from the table only with four-foot-long chopsticks. They are so long that no one can reach the food from the table to his mouth, and therefore each one is dying of starvation.”
When they returned to Heaven, the man saw an identical table, full of the same foods, but everyone around the table was happy and fat. Then he asked Peter, “What do these people eat with, forks and spoons, right?” Peter answered, “No, the same as Hell, only four-foot-long chopsticks.” Confused, the man asked, “Why are all the people in Hell in pain and starving to death while all those here in Heaven are well-fed and happy?” Peter replied: “In Heaven, we feed each other.”
We feed each other out of love. We are to love one another as John said in his first letter, chapter 3. It is not a “warm fuzzy” love or sensual, “hook-up” love. It is definitely not selfish, out of anger or hate. In fact, “Whoever does not love abides in death. Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.” Instead, our love is sacrificial and costly. “By this we know love, that He laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. Let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.” Spurgeon said, “True love delights in sacrifices. Love rejoices in self-denials. The more costly the sacrifice, the better is love pleased to make it.” We are to love one another, as He commanded. And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. How is your love for one another this season?
Take the opportunity this Advent season to think about your love for God and love for one another in Christ. How are you loving one another in deed and truth? How are you feeding others with four-foot-long chopsticks? Don’t give up on loving your brother or sister in Christ. John Flavel said, “Do not be too quick to bury the church before she is dead! Stay till Christ has tried his skill before you give it up for lost.”