Rocko Smith III was born a fortunate man.
One could even say born with a silver spoon in his hand.
But he was a good person.
He didn’t squander or waste.
Instead he did his best posthaste.
Unlike others in his class.
He didn’t party hard and fast.
He worked hard and did good deeds.
He truly was a good person but…
One bad choice he made.
Or should I say one good choice he didn’t make.
But he was a good person…
The car circled the public square for the third time. The Christmas lights sparkled and blinked merrily but Rocko wasn’t there for the decorations. His gaze went past the bright lights and peered into the shadows.
He tapped the driver’s shoulder. “Pull over, Jives.”
“My name’s not Jives, Rocko.”
“I know that but can’t you humor me just once, Martin? I always wanted a driver named Jives.”
“If it makes you happy, I suppose you can. Just tonight since it’s Christmas Eve.”
“That’s a deal, Jives.” He opened his door and picked up the package off the seat.
“Be back in a few.”
“Take as long as you need, Boss.”
“My name’s not boss.”
I know but I always wanted to say that.”
Rocko chuckled as he made his way toward the alley. With his back turned to the merry lights, the night turned dark. And cold. He shivered glad to have his warm coat and gloves.
He walked into the alley. He saw his target. “Hi.”
“I’m not doing nothing wrong.”
“I know that. I just wanted to give you a Christmas gift.”
“I don’t need no charity.”
“I’m sure you don’t but still I’d like to give you this gift.” He reached the box toward the man.
“Because I’ve been so fortu—”
Blinding lights came toward them.
Rocko stood in a line—a very long line. It went as far as the eye could see and he was at the end of the line. In front of him stood a man in tattered clothes. Rocko still had on his warm coat and gloves. “Hey buddy, where are we? What’s going on? How did I get here?”
The man turned.
“You’re the man from the alley.”
“And you’re the man that was in my alley.”
“What happened? Why are we here?”
“Guess that runaway truck got both of us.”
“You mean I’m dead.”
“It seems to be so.”
“But I was just trying to do something nice for someone on Christmas Eve.”
“Hey don’t blame me. I didn’t ask you to come in my alley.”
“No. No. Of course not. That’s not what I meant at all. I’m just surprised. So then what’s this line?”
“My guess is that it’s the judging line.”
“You know it’s where God decides if you go to heaven or hell.”
“I don’t believe in God.”
“Believe or not, I think you’re about to meet your maker.”
“You really think God’s at the end of this line?”
“No, we’re at the end of the line. He is at the beginning of the line. Of course, He is the Alpha and the Omega.”
“You sound like you know what you’re talking about.”
He shrugged. “I used to go to church a long time ago. Of course, I started making bad choices that ended up with me being in that alley. First it was alcohol. Then it was drugs. Then I needed more money to get the drugs and ended up in prison. And then the alley.”
“So things aren’t looking good for you, huh?”
“I guess you could say that. But I made the choices so I gotta face the consequences. Got no one to blame but myself.”
“Sorry about that buddy.”
“It is what it is. How about you? How are you feeling about the whole thing?”
“It’s true I didn’t believe in God but I am…was a good person. For the most part I tried to do the right thing. I was kind to the people in my life, I donated lots of money to charities. And not just money but my time as well. I think I’ll be OK.”
“Sounds like it.”
And then it was their turn.
A man sat on a large golden throne. But not just any man, the Son of Man but also the Son of God. He wore a robe of white so bright it glowed. To his left was brightness and warmth that beckoned all. To his left darkness and death.
The man from the alley fell on his face.
“Stand up, Stanley.”
He lifted his head. “I can’t. I’m not worthy to approach you, Lord.”
“I know you Stanley and you know me. Please stand up. Fear not, you have been made righteous through my blood.”
As Stanley stood, his tattered clothes turned into a glowing white robe. “But I’m not worthy. I’ve done so many bad things. Made so many mistakes.”
“And yet I know you, Stanley.”
Rocko breathed a sigh of relief. It was going to be OK. If someone like Stanley got to go to heaven, surely he would. After all, he was a good person. A really good person.
“Please go to the left, Stanley. There are people waiting for you. People who love you.”
It was his turn. He walked up to the throne with a confident smile.
The man stared at his for several long moments. Then with a booming voice, “Who approaches my throne?”
Gone was the kind loving voice, in its place was a cold angry voice. Something was wrong. Stanley had knelt so Rocko knelt. “It’s me. Rocko Smith III, Lord.”
“You dare to call me Lord. I do not know you.”
“True but I was a really good person.”
“I do not know you and you do not know me.”
“But I want to know you. Now.”
“Did you not have chances when you were alive?”
“Well, sure I had chances but I didn’t think you were real. Everyone said you were a myth. Obviously, I was wrong about that and I’m sorry. But I was a really good person. I worked hard. I was nice to people. I gave money to…”
“Your good deeds are like filthy rags. They mean nothing to me. Please go to the right.”
He looked to his right and only saw darkness awaiting him. “That can’t be right. You let Stanley, the drug addict into heaven. That’s where I belong. In the light. In heaven.”
“I never knew you.” His voice was heavy with sorrow.
“It’s not fair.” Invisible hands pulled him toward the darkness. “But I was a really good pers…”
Matthew 3: 3
Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
HAVE YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE?