Cool crisp mornings turn my thoughts to fall hunting seasons and fall hunting seasons bring fond memories of my father’s taxidermy shop. With the arrival of archery season each year, successful hunters began the parade of customers bringing game heads for dad to mount.
Dad’s shop was divided into three sections: the front showroom, his work area, and “the back.” The back was where game heads were hung to dry after being mounted and was usually closed to visitors. The front showroom was where customers picked up completed mounts and much bragging took place.
But the real heart of Bowers’ Taxidermy was dad’s work area. That’s where most of the daily labor occurred and where each animal was transformed from skin and antlers into an amazing lifelike representation.
The showroom had a doorway leading into the work area with a rectangular black and white sign that announced “No Admittance.” The second word was a pretty big one for a young fellow but dad not only pronounced it for me, he explained its meaning.
Customers, salesmen, and visitors were not allowed to enter that area unless special circumstances required it. His wife and children, however, were exempted from this prohibition and we passed the sign daily paying it no heed.
I’m not sure whatever happened to dad’s No Admittance sign but it remains fixed in my memory and causes me to think of my Heavenly Father’s shop. God’s universe also has divisions.
Right now, we are living in the showroom of this physical world and it is filled with the Shopkeeper’s amazing creations. No one is prohibited and all can enjoy not only His creativity but His presence as well.
But the heart of God’s shop is heaven. This is not only where God is now but where He will be throughout all eternity. Unlike dad’s work area which could get a little messy, God’s heaven is even more beautiful than His showroom. It is so stunning that John had difficulty finding earthly words to describe its grandeur.
There is a No Admittance sign, however, prohibiting unrestrained entry into God’s heaven. Because of our sin, fallen humans are forbidden from entering this intimate existence with the Father.
Nevertheless there is one exception. Just as the No Admittance sign meant nothing to Dad’s children, heaven’s banned entry does not apply to God’s children. His sons and daughters are free to enjoy His close fellowship as they pass through death’s door from earth’s showroom into eternity.
Although we are all God’s children by creation, not all are His children by regeneration. Jesus assured Nicodemus that no one would enjoy heaven’s splendors without being born again. When the Jewish leader questioned this, the Master indicated that this required not a physical rebirth, but a spiritual one.
If we want to enjoy God’s eternal presence in heaven as well as the blessings of truly knowing Him in earth’s showroom, we must become His spiritual child. We do that by admitting, confessing and turning from our sin and trusting in Jesus’ blood to forgive and save us. Only then can we be adopted into His family and be granted admission to His presence.
The back of dad’s shop was the largest but least attractive area. It had an overhead door permitting the biggest game animals to be delivered and picked up, but the lighting was poor, much of the floor was dirt, and there was little beauty there. Dad spent the least of his time in the back.
So too, eternity’s “back” offers a wide entry but a miserable existence permanently separated from the Shopkeeper. Unlike the back of dad’s shop, there are no doorways to leave once entered. Jesus warned us to avoid it and gave His life so that we could.
As cooler weather ushers in hunting seasons, may these memories of my dad’s shop remind us each to make arrangements now to become God’s child, that we might be admitted to His heaven when we arrive at the doorway. Blessings, George