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Escape to Wisconsin?

August 17, 2018

“Each man’s work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire.” 1 Corinthians 3:13

If you live near a big city, no doubt you’ve been caught in the torturous experience of creeping along in bumper-to-bumper traffic. This can be particularly annoying if you are in a hurry to get somewhere—to say nothing of how revealing it can be about our true spiritual condition.

As a Christian, I have to admit that I don’t have enough gestures to express my true feelings when traffic gets really bad! So the only way to relieve the tension is to spend the time reading the interesting bumper stickers that reveal the political and personal irritations of the drivers nearby.

Among the more interesting ones: “As a matter of fact I do own the road!” and “If a woman’s place is in the home, why am I always in this SUV?” I particularly like the one that says, “You can’t scare me. I’ve got triplets!”

I’m reminded of Paul Harvey, who once reported seeing two bumper stickers on a car in Chicago: on one side, “Jesus is coming!” and on the other side of the bumper, an invitation by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism to “Escape to Wisconsin!”

Well, Jesus is coming again, but when He does, no one will be able to escape to Wisconsin—or anywhere else for that matter. The most despicable pagans, the most vocal scoffers, the most intelligent deniers, the most thoughtful agnostics, and the most ardent atheists will not be able to find refuge. Instead, as Paul tells us in Philippians 2:10-11, they will join the great final worship service and, with all humanity, they too will bow their knees and confess with their mouths that Jesus is indeed the Lord. No doubt it will be a humbling and scary event for them.

For those of us who have been worshiping the worthy name of Jesus long before His return, it is good to know that. Though we have often been ridiculed for such a naïve and retro view of life, it’s reassuring to know we were right about Jesus all along!

But I need to add: though grace will prevail for those of us who have believed, and our sins and failures will be remembered no more, there is some jeopardy for us as well. The apostle Paul writes that we will be saved, but “with fire.” At His appearing, the flame of His glory will burn away all the wood, hay, and stubble from our lives, leaving only the gold, silver, and precious jewels. The wood, hay, and stubble, interestingly enough, is not necessarily our sins, but rather all we spent our time doing that had no use for eternity.

Francis Schaeffer used to talk about the tragedy of what he called “ash-heap Christians.” He was talking about those of us who had lived our lives for the fleeting pleasures and pursuits of earth-side stuff and gain. Think of standing there in His glorious presence knee-deep in ashes with nothing of eternal significance to present to Him. You’ll wish you could be in Wisconsin!

So, what have you done lately to make His return a happy event for you? Got any gold to offer Him when He appears? Believe me, seeing Him face-to-face after having lived a productive life for eternity’s gain will be lots better than seeing Wisconsin!


  • How often do you consider the reality that Jesus could come back at any moment?
  • How does that reality impact your task list for today? What should be added to your to-do list? What could be taken off the list?
  • Take a minute to pray that God will bring some worthy investment options to mind—places for you to put your time and talents to good use for eternity. Then pick one of them and pursue it!