The joke is told about three nurses who died and went to Heaven, where they were met at the Pearly Gates by Peter. To the first, he asked, "What did you used to do back on Earth? Why do you think you should be allowed to come into Heaven?"
"I was a nurse at an inner city hospital," she replied. "I worked to bring healing and peace to many sufferers, especially poor, helpless children."
"Very noble," said Peter. "You may enter." And in she went.
To the next nurse, he asked the same question. "What did you used to do?" "Why do you think you should be allowed to come into Heaven?"
"I was a nurse at a missionary hospital in the Amazon basin," she replied. "For many years, I worked with a skeleton crew of doctors and nurses who tried to reach out to as many people across numerous tribes, with a hand of healing and peace, and with the message about God's love."
"How touching," said Peter. "You, too, may enter." And in she went.
He then came to the last nurse, to whom he asked, "What did you used to do back on Earth? Why do you think you should be allowed to come into Heaven?"
After some hesitation, she replied, "I was a nurse at an HMO." (In South Africa we can compare this to medical aid hospital authorization conditions)
Peter pondered this for a moment, and then said, "Ok, you may enter, too."
"Whew!" said the nurse. "For a moment there, I thought you weren't going to let me in."
"Oh, you can come in," said St. Peter, "but you can only stay for three days."
Some of you personally know the feeling of being pushed out of a hospital room faster than you would like to have been. But while there are a lot of adjectives that the Bible uses to describe heaven -- incorruptible, undefiled, glorious -- one adjective that is never used is "temporary."
As I look back over my life, there have been some wonderful moments that I wished would never end. But everything we experience in this life is temporary. No matter how much we enjoy doing something, going somewhere, or being with someone, it is all only temporary. But, in heaven, we have the opportunity to be with God and His redeemed for all eternity!
"So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands." (2 Cor. 4:18-5:1)
I hope you've made your reservations for the party that will never end!