"He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."1
If you happened to watch the world-wide TV New Year's Eve 2000 celebrations a decade ago, you would have seen, not only the impressive fireworks display in Sydney (Australia), but also emblazoned in extremely large neon writing right across the Sydney Harbor Bridge the word, "Eternity."
This word was in celebration of the "work and witness" of sidewalk chalk artist (if that's what you could call him), Arthur Malcolm Stace, who became affectionately known as "Mr. Eternity."
"July 30 of this year marked the 43rd anniversary of the death of Arthur Stace. Born in 1884 into a drunken Australian family, Arthur described what he'd become, "a petty criminal, a bum, and a metho (metholated spirits alcohol) drinker."
"His new birth from an old life in crime and sin to a new life in Christ and service took place on the night of August 6, 1930.
"This spiritual turn around occurred after he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ preached faithfully by Rev. R.D.S. Hammond at St Barnabas church in Broadway, Sydney. Twelve years later, on a Sunday night, November 14, 1942, at his home church in Darlinghurst, as he sat listening to 'The Echoes of Eternity' proclaimed forthrightly by Australia's beloved evangelist—the late Rev. John G. Ridley—Stace was challenged to go out and write with chalk the word Eternity multiplied thousands of times on city sidewalks. This he did continuously and consistently for the next quarter of century till he died on July 30, 1967.
"By the time Arthur Stace was called by God to exit this world into eternity, he had left behind a legacy of an enormous value in the copperplate writing of one word—Eternity.
"God took his tool—a piece of chalk—his text of one word, Eternity, and his territory of one pavement at a time in Sydney, and multiplied it abundantly.
It was witnessed first by many thousands in Sydney, Woolongong, Newcastle, and Melbourne. Then on the eve of the new millennium celebration, more than a million people who crammed around the Sydney Harbor Bridge saw it electronically emblazoned across the bridge of our Olympic city after a spectacular display of fireworks. It was also beamed around the world to more than two billion viewers, as well as at the closing ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games later on in the year."2
Eternity. It is a powerful word with eternal consequences. In his own simple but profound way, Arthur Stace was posing the question, "Where will you spend eternity?"
Eternity! Where will you spend it? Whatever you do, don't leave earth without your "Passport for Heaven." To obtain your "Passport for Heaven"—without charge—go to: http://tinyurl.com/passport-heaven.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, thank You that You have provided the way to spend eternity with You through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus, so that all who will believe in and accept Him as their Savior have Your promise and guarantee of spending eternity with You in heaven. Thank You for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus's name, amen."
1. Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV).
2. Peter Rahme, Pastor, Inner West Baptist Church. www.innerwestbaptist.org.au.