Aun Quek Chin—Singapore
The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word “heirloom" as “a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations.” An heirloom’s significance may be derived from its market price as a rare antique or from its sentimental value as a tangible piece of family history. For example, we may think of a sewing machine that a great-great-grandmother used to make a living and raise her family, subsequently passed down through the generations. No matter its monetary worth, an heirloom is a treasured item handed from parent to child.
As children of the heavenly Father, we have a spiritual heirloom that He has set aside for us: the kingdom of heaven. We know, too, that this heirloom is not freely gained—it is through the blood of Jesus that we have come to receive this precious legacy. So we ought to ask ourselves: Have we esteemed this inheritance lightly? How do we ensure that we do not lose this heirloom?
GIVE EARNEST HEED TO THE WORD
Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. (Heb 2:1)
In our day and age, it is undeniable that the most popular seminars are about wealth creation or wellness. We all need money and health to lead comfortable lives; unsurprisingly, everyone is looking for the best ways to gain both. Nevertheless, these seminars only concern our body and our present life on earth. No matter how healthy or wealthy we are, we will all one day die, and the years pass in the blink of an eye. More important are our salvation and the heirloom that we are to receive.
If we believe Jesus redeems us from our sins so that we can receive the eternal inheritance, we must give more earnest heed to what we have heard. These things are not spoken by men but by God concerning our eternal salvation and life. Jesus said, “He who has an ear let him hear” (Rev 2:7). Jesus repeated this phrase throughout His message to the seven churches in Revelation, to emphasize the need to hold on to the things we have heard and not drift away.
Do we heed the word earnestly and hold on to what we have heard? Or are we like a leaky pail that brings home less water than it was filled with? When we attend services and listen to the sermons each week, do we retain the word of God that we receive? Can we recall the teachings or how God’s word may be applied in our lives? Today, there are many things to learn and consider, and we eagerly study these techniques and knowledge in the quest for a better life or self-improvement. But do we love these ideas more than God and our heirloom? Be careful lest we drift away.
To “drift away” refers to a boat adrift at sea. A drifting boat does not move according to the pilot’s wishes but simply follows the tide and current. If our faith is weak today, it is not because we do not believe but because we do not diligently and actively secure our faith. We allow our faith to drift along with the ebb and flow of the current of time, and we drift farther and farther away from our heirloom. Someone once asked Jesus, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” (Lk 13:23). Jesus did not answer him directly but told him to strive to enter the narrow gate. The heavenly kingdom, the heirloom of our heavenly Father, is for those who strive to receive it. The heavenly kingdom belongs to those who are diligent in entering it. We should not relax and allow ourselves to drift along with the currents but put in the effort to row the boat towards our destination.
DO NOT NEGLECT OUR SALVATION
[H]ow shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him? (Heb 2:3)
We may think that “neglect” is a small matter because it is so passive—we are simply not acting. So we may wonder: how can inaction be a sin, and how can it cause us to lose our heirloom?
The seat belt is one of the most basic safety systems in the car. According to statistics, seat belt usage in the United States is high, at 90.4 percent in 2021, but 51 percent of passengers killed in car accidents in 2020 were unrestrained. In 2017, seat belts saved an estimated 14,955 lives, but could have saved an additional 2,549 lives if they had been used. Although it is widely accepted that seat belts save lives, some commuters still do not use them. Cherishing our heirloom is like fastening the seat belt of our souls. If we neglect to put on this seat belt, we may lose our eternal life.
Of course, the alternative—actively striving to secure our heirloom—is not easy, and there will be times when our faith is unsteady. Yet whatever the situation, we must persist. It may feel like a heavy burden, but if we take small steps, the burden will be bearable. There have been testimonies of church members who, even though they were reprimanded at work by their bosses, could still quieten their hearts and go for service. Imagine that you are starving but about to leave for church—would you stop to eat food even though you would certainly be late for service? We can think of many excuses not to come to service, but let us be diligent with the basics of our faith. Remember that Jesus told us to strive to enter by that narrow way. We must put in our due effort to hold on to our heirloom, and Jesus will do the rest.
And let us consider one another…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. (Heb 10:24–25)
If we believe that the Lord’s Day is approaching, we will all the more renew our efforts to gather with our brethren. We may understand that Sabbath services are important, but do we view other scheduled services in the same light? Attending services and the coming of the Lord Jesus are inextricably linked.
At Jesus’ second coming, where there are two in the field, one will be taken, and the other left behind (Mt 24:40; Lk 17:36). This is commonly interpreted as a distinction between believer and unbeliever, but it can also describe a situation where both are believers of Christ. It all depends on our relationship with Him.
“I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” (Jn 15:5–6)
Those baptized have established a relationship with God and are connected to the true vine. However, we should not take for granted that we will always remain so; baptism is only the beginning. We must strive to stay connected to the vine and never depart. Only then will we receive His preservation and our heirloom.
The church is the body of Christ. When we come to church, we abide in the Lord Jesus. However, some have grown cold and no longer gather in church, arguing that Christ, not the church, was nailed on the cross for us. Therefore, they believe it unnecessary to gather in church and that worshipping Jesus alone is enough. However, the Bible tells us that the church is the body of Christ. The Spirit of God fills the church, and we are saved through the church, by water baptism in the name of Jesus. Through the church, we partake in the Holy Communion, to have eternal life. Through the church, where sermons are spoken, we are encouraged. When Christ comes again, we will be lifted up, but those not in the church will be treated as unbelievers—in Revelation, Jesus told John not to measure those in the temple's outer court (Rev 11:1–2). Therefore, we must have a relationship with Jesus in which we abide in His temple, the church. Let us esteem coming to services and assembling. We will only receive the heirloom prepared for us at the end of all things.
DRAW NEAR WITH FAITH
[L]et us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:22)
Some have complaints against the church: They say they do not feel God or His love, or they see hypocrisy in the church. They feel that their problems persist and God does not help them, so there is no reason to continue attending church.
However, when we come before God and seek to draw near to Him, we should be relying on
faith, not feelings. We will be disappointed if we draw near based on what we feel. Our coming before God with faith pleases God (Heb 11:6). And we should reflect on our intentions—are we drawing near to God with a true heart?
Suppose you are visiting a friend’s house, and he does not tidy before you come or serve you anything when you are there. Complaining about these reveals that you did not visit your friend with a true heart. If you had, all the above would not matter. You would just be glad to spend time with him, even if no food is served, the sofa is hard, or the ambiance is terrible. Being happy to be there shows you are a true friend with a true heart.
“God did not provide me with bread. God did not heal my sickness. Brothers and sisters did not help me with my problems.” All these complaints reveal the intents of our heart. If we do have a genuine need, those needs should be secondary. The primary purpose of coming to church is to worship the God who saved us, and the grace of worshipping God should be enough for us to offer our life to Him. No one was willing to die for us and suffer for us. But Jesus was. How can we neglect so great a salvation? How can we neglect the heirloom paid for at so high a price? With that in mind, we should reflect on whether we go to church with a true heart to worship God.
Let us treasure and hold fast to the priceless heirloom of the heavenly kingdom and the salvation God has given us. Give earnest heed to His word, not neglecting our salvation or assembling with our fellow brothers and sisters, but drawing near to worship God with a pure heart.
 “Seat Belts,” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, accessed June 2, 2022, https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts.