My wife and I enjoy watching the Food Network show “Chopped.” If you haven’t seen it, I will give you a quick synopsis: four competitors start the show–with most of the competitors being employed in food service as executive chefs, sous chefs, caterers and/or cookbook authors–and have to prepare an appetizer using the ingredients in a “mystery basket” (as well as anything from the show’s pantry and refrigerator) within the allotted amount of time. When time is up, the competitors present their dish to a three-judge panel. These judges are big names in the restaurant world, as restaurant owners, executive chefs and/or cookbook authors. After tasting and critiquing each dish, the judges deliberate and one contestant is “chopped,” or sent home. The remaining three then compete in an entree round with a new basket of ingredients, after which another competitor is chopped, then the final two compete in a dessert round. The chef left standing after the final visit to the chopping block is declared Chopped Champion. And to make it all even more interesting, the ingredients in the mystery basket are generally unusual ingredients, or very pedestrian items a fine chef would not ordinarily use (like ramen noodles, licorice candies, or cheese in a can).
Anyway, the show is fun. It is interesting to see what the chefs can come up with in such a short period of time with such wacky ingredients. And of course, as in any competition, there can only be one winner. That’s why I’m so glad that life–and particularly life after death–is not a competition.
Can you imagine being summoned before the ultimate chopping block–the throne of God? Regardless of how many wonderful things I may do, how much money I may give or what a great guy I might be, there is certainly going to be someone who does more, gives more, and is even greater than me. So if entry in heaven was like an episode of Chopped, I would certainly be sent home in the first round. Maybe you are the most wonderful, most generous and greatest human being, though. So I guess you’d end up okay, huh? Nope. ‘Fraid not. Because even the best human being isn’t “good enough.” Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In other words, if standing before God was like standing before the chopping block, we’d all be chopped. No one would win.
The good news, though, is that while every human being who has ever lived will someday stand before the throne of God–the chopping block, so to speak–there is no numerical limit to how many people can move on into heaven. Everyone who confesses that Jesus Christ is Lord, was raised from the dead, and can forgive sins will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). But that is the only way to get forgiveness. It doesn’t matter what I put on my plate to present to God, because it won’t be enough. But when I stand before His throne and say that I have accepted His Son’s death, burial and resurrection and asked forgiveness for my sins, He will let me into heaven. He has promised He will. And I, for one, am thankful!