You know from last evening that our family spent Saturday at Dollywood. We went through Dolly Parton’s tour bus, trekked from one end of the park to the other, and God delivered a miracle in that the crowds were pretty much non-existent. One thing that I didn’t know ahead of time is that this time of year means the Gospel and Harvest Celebration is in full swing at Dollywood. Admittedly, I didn’t know that much about the faith of Dolly, but from all the hype and the singers in the area, I can only assume that, as I have heard before, she is a pretty staunch Christ follower. And that’s good to hear…
In fact, the theme park is full of places where you can purchase religious mementos, Christmas ornaments and hear Gospel music in a number of theatre venues around the property. While we were at Dollywood, we rode the train around the property and there must have been 5 or more places where Gospel music could be heard across the beautiful Tennessee hills. And the scenery was wonderful – just enough color, a perfect temperature, blue skies and several things we didn’t expect to see – for one, the aviary of American bald eagles. The whole park rings patriotic and faith based – two things I am really in tune with. In short, I am glad that we went and saw this attraction – in fact, I would heartily recommend it and would go back again!
One of the things that struck me was the fact that many well known Christian vocal groups were playing at Dollywood. Years ago, Janet and I attended Gospel “sings” at Jonathan Byrd’s in Greenwood. We have seen a number of groups there throughout the years. The Gaither Vocal Band was among them and Guy Penrod, one of the singers I met years ago at Byrd’s, was at Dollywood this week – singing for standing room only crowds. Several other groups, including the Kindgom Heirs, were also in town and had performances as well.
It got me thinking about all the Gospel groups I have heard since I started attending the “sings” at Byrd’s. I really fell for the music and the performers are, by and large, pretty terrific. The Gaithers are personal friends of the Byrds and so I have been fortunate enough to meet them a number of times. Who would have thought?
Anyway, to cut to the chase, Dolly’s invitation to these groups to perform at the Gospel and Harvest Celebration is to be commended. After all, we owe gratitude to God for the harvest and the fact that the land will be going fallow until God sends new life in the spring. Although we didn’t stop in and attend any of the performances, you could walk through the various venues and hear the harmonies as you walked throughout the property. While The Kingdom Heirs are a well known Gospel group, I am reminded that all believers are members of the group as well. That’s right – we are all kingdom heirs.
Once you have professed a belief in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, you are part of an eternal group – one that will never break up. The verse for tonight reflects Christ’s views of people who will inherit the kingdom. He tells us, in James 2:5, “Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?”
Or how about what we are told in Titus 3:4-7, “When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.”
Whichever of these verses you may prefer, the fact is that God has anointed us as His heirs and that means we are c0-heirs with Christ Himself. That’s pretty awesome. My encouragement this evening is to confirm that God wants you to share in the eternal rewards He has in store for you. My prayer is that you will thank God for His mercy and for the fact that he is waiting to spend eternity with you. In every sense of the word, you are part of The Kindgom Heirs, even if you can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…