in the

A Very
Short Story
. . . with Long Lasting Implications

CLYDE HOPPER GAZED at the rosy cheeks as he stood over
    the lifeless body.   What a strange way to make a living, he
    thought, examining the artistry with which they prepped
his grandmother's hair.   He shook his head, not really sure who
was better off.
   "CLYDE!   IT'S BEEN YEARS!"   Clyde's cousin, Leann, came slicing
through the thick crowd of mourners.   "How's Jeanie, and the

   "Fine," Clyde said.   "They couldn't be here.   Jeanie sends her

   Leann's half-smile became a stream of tears as she studied
Clyde's face.   She grabbed a hanky out of her purse.   "I'm sorry.
It's just that--"

   "I understand," Clyde said.   "We're all going to miss her."
   "Oh no, it's not her death . . . She was saved, you know."
   Clyde nodded.   No, he didn't know; nor did he care to.   He was
the odd man out; the sore thumb in a family deep in religion.
Worse yet, they were "Bible thumpers," that annoying group of
people forever trying to convince you that their's is the only
way to Heaven.   Clyde hated it.   He wouldn't even be within ten
miles of this quagmire of religious arrogance if it weren't for the
death of his grandmother.   By now, Leann's brother had picked
up the scent.
   "CLYDE!   How are you?   Haven't seen you in years."
   "I'm doing fine, Ted," Clyde said.
   "Did you get my Christmas card?"
   "You mean the one with the ‘festive’ fire and brimstone

   "That's right, God's Plan of Salvation," Ted said.
   "Actually, I got about eleven of those things.   Seems like every-
one decided to send me the same card."

   "Well, you can't blame us, you know.   It's important to know
where you're going when you die.   Take Granny, for instance;
saved fifty years; knew exactly where she was going when the
day finally arrived.   And you never know when it will--"

   Ted paused, and broke into tears.   "I'm sorry, Clyde.   Got a

   Clyde shook his head . . .

   Throughout the room, the pattern was the same.   Another
relative would say hello, casually ask about the card, and then
suddenly burst into tears.   Clyde was getting sick and angry at
the same time.
   "CLYDE!   YOU OLD DOG!"   Uncle Henry spun Clyde around from
behind.   "How's my favorite nephew?"
   "Good.   Jeanie and the kids send their love."
   "Glad to hear it . . . by the way, did you ever get--?"
   "Your card?   Your's was the fifth one."
   Uncle Henry frowned.   "You're not upset, are you?   You should
do what the card says.   We all have, you know.   Fact, your
Grandma's up in Heaven, right now, waiting for the rest of us.
That's why Christ died in our place."

   "Yeah, I've heard."
   "It's not a maybe, hope so, wait till I die salvation--"
   Clyde glanced at his watch.
   "--That's the mistake most people make," Henry continued.
"They assume you can't know for sure, right now in this

   Clyde was deciding what to eat.
   "--But since Christ died to pay for your sins and mine, we can
have complete assurance we're going to Heaven when we die.   No
if, but, or maybe about it.   You don't have to fear death no

   "So how's Aunt Louise?" Clyde said.
   "--You can rejoice in the fact you're going to Heaven when
you die.   Just call on Christ to save you.   What do you say?   Will
you call on Him to save you?"

   "Sure.   You got a quarter?"
   Uncle Henry broke into tears, frisking his suit with both hands.
"Excuse me, I better get me a napkin or something."

   Clyde stood alone in the middle of the room, examining all
the sobbing relatives, the steadfast Bible thumpers so sure of
going to Heaven, yet crying like frightened little children who
had lost a dead parent they were never going to see again.   The
whole scene was pathetic.   Clyde couldn't take it anymore.
   "EXCUSE ME! . . . HELLO?"   Clyde drew everyone's attention.
   "You all know me, I'm sure.   I'm the name on your Christmas
list with the bull's-eye next to it.   And while I've never been
outwardly hostile toward your obnoxious recruitment
techniques, I have to say that coming here has opened my eyes
as to what a bunch of hypocrites you are."

   The room started buzzing.
   "That's right!   You're hypocrites.   You keep telling me I can
happily know for sure I'm going to Heaven, and yet here you are
crying your heads off.   OPEN YOUR EYES; practice what you
   "If this stuff you keep pushing is so true, then why don't you
act like it.   You should be glad, celebrating that Grandma is
finally out of this stupid, God forsaken world, and into this
wonderful place you guys are so anxious to get me in."

   Their weeping intensified.
   "Well?   What's wrong with you people?   You sure had a lot to
say, earlier . . . Why don't you say something now?"

   Uncle Henry cleared his throat.   "Ah . . . I think you've
misunderstood us.   We're not crying because your grandmother's
gone to Heaven.   We're crying ‘cause you're the only family
member left going to Hell . . ."

IF you were to die today, are you 100% SURE
you would go to Heaven?
  The Bible says
YOU CAN BE SURE (1 John 5:13).

BUT FIRST, you must realize that what keeps you
from going to Heaven are your sins, because:
"...your iniquities [sins] have separated
between you and your God,"
Isaiah 59:2.
In fact, in God's eyes YOU ARE A SINNER: "For
all have sinned, and come short
of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:23.

SECONDLY, you must realize that there is
NOTHING you can do to save yourself and earn
Heaven: "For by grace are ye saved through
faith; and that not of yourselves: it is
the gift of God: Not of works, lest any
man should boast."
  Eph. 2:8-9   Baptism, good
deeds, church membership, self-righteousness are
all examples of good works that cannot save you,
because: "Not by works of
which we have done, but
according to his mercy he
[Christ] saved
Titus 3:5.

THE ONLY WAY you can get saved is through
Jesus Christ.   He said: "I am the way, the
truth, and the life: no man cometh unto
the Father, but by me."
  (John 14:6)   THAT'S
: "...while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us
  (Rom. 5:8-9)

THEREFORE: You must REPENT (change your
); admit that you are a Hell deserving sinner
and can't save yourself.   And call upon Christ, and
Him alone, to save you.   "if thou shalt confess
with thy mouth the Lord Jesus
[REPENT], and
shalt believe in thine heart
[TRUST] that God
hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be
  Romans 10:9

P.O. Box 815   Fargo, ND 58107

[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]