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Sunday, July 20, 2008

What Will He Say?

I think, often, of what Jesus will say to me on that day, when I stand before Him for the first time. I hope that I will be welcomed with the words "well done." Perhaps I dwell too much on these things. But when I ponder it all, life and death and eternity, I can't help but come to the conclusion that I ought to be living my whole life in preparation for that moment.

In reading the book of Colossians this morning, I lingered over a few verses:

  • "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father." (3:17)
  • "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. For he who does wrong will receive the consequences of the wrong which he has done, and that without partiality." (3:23-25)

I find in these verses some points to take note of.

  • For one, we are to do all that we do in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now, when we do something in someone else's name, we are doing it as their representative. For instance, if I can't make a meeting at work, I may ask someone else to represent me, and to give input in my name regarding whatever items are on the agenda. In other words, people will judge or come to conclusions about what my opinions and ideas are according to what my representative says in my name. Wow. Heavy responsibility there, to be representing the Lord Jesus in all that I say and do. But as Christians, we are His representatives. We are His body, His presence, here on earth. And if there is anyone we should want to give a good impression of, it is Him. We so often forget that it isn't about us at all; it is about Him. His plans, His purposes, His Name.
  • The next thing I see is that I should be giving thanks through Him to God the Father. I don't need to belabour this point. We all know that we need to be more thankful. It is a good reminder, though, to be thankful in whatever you do, in word or deed. Be thankful that He has given us "good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them (Eph. 2:10b), that He has equipped us, given us grace to do them, and included us in His plans and purposes for this world that we are to be salt and light in.
  • Thirdly, I see that we are to do our work heartily, as for the Lord, rather than for men, since it is the Lord Christ whom we serve. I often have to stop and remind myself just Who it is that I serve. Though He is unseen, the reality is that I serve, and so do you, if you are a Christian, the actual Lord of Heaven and Earth, Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Amazing. And more amazing that I still worry about what people will think of me, rather than first considering what will be pleasing to Him. I can find myself stewing over every word I have spoken, every decision I make. There are many standards, it seems, to reach, as a Christian. But you can't keep everyone happy. How does one live their life as unto an audiance of One? If I could do that, then I could be confident that every outcome of every decision would be according to God's perfect plan. Again, it is God that I ought to want to please, for His Name's sake. Not pleasing man, to gain a good reputation (in their estimation) for myself. And, very often, I will not be able to do both.
  • I see that is is from the Lord that I will receive the reward of the inheritance, and that if I do wrong, I will receive the consequences of the wrong which I have done. Bought, purchased, redeemed, I am no longer my own but I belong to Christ. I will "obtain an inheritance which is impreishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven (1Peter 1:4) for me. I also realize that there will be consequences for the wrong which I have done. Though my sin is forgiven and paid for, I will reap what I sow. Either in this life, or at the Judgement Seat of Christ, where we will all appear, "so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad (2Cor. 5:10b.)" Sobering indeed. As the saying goes, "we only go around once." Or, more Biblically put, "And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement (Heb. 9:27.)" Our lives here on eath may be brief in terms of actual time spent, but the conseqences of our decisions and actions will be eternal.

So. When I get there, on that day, face to face with Jesus, what will I hear? I can imagine two possibilities:

  • "Welcome, good and faithful servant. You tried your best. In all your efforts to serve Me, you always considered the other guy, and worked hard at not giving offence. You took no chances, knowing that My Name was at stake. And having no confidence in yourself, you played it safe. You did no more, and no less, than tradition and the status quo dictated. You made sure that you did and said all the "right" things, according to standards set by those who surely had more wisdom and insight than yourself. Come in to your reward. At least you didn't make too many big messes for Me to clean up."

OR

  • "Welcome, good and faithful servant. You didn't have great faith, but you had enough to take Me at my word. You had no confidence in yourself, but you had every confidence in Me that I would do above and beyond all that you could ask or imagine. You believed Me when I said you would do greater works than I did. You cared not about what others thought of you at all; if you had to offend some in obeying My commands, you did so unhesitatingly. When you didn't understand your circumstances, or My purposes in them, you carried on, eyes straight ahead, fixed on Me. Along the way you took some chances, and you made some mistakes. But you knew I would be faithful, you knew I would do all that I wanted to do through your life, as you laid it down before Me, even working all those blunders together for good. Come in to your reward. Those things I did through you seemed small at the time, but look at what eternity is reaping from them now."

I have to say that my hope and prayer is to hear something along the lines of the second one. How about you?

3 comments:

William said...

This is excellent Melanie, and you certainly hit the nail on the head regarding the two possible outcomes. For some bizarre reason, believers tend to resist the notion of a reward system in heaven, despite clear scripture supporting it. There will be various crowns, levels of authority and even different levels of heavens (2 Corinthians 12:2).

Paul compared our life in Christ to an athletic contest in which we compete for the prize. It is so important that we get our eyes off of others. True champions (like Jack Nicklaus, in golf) always have an above average ability to blot out distractions and focus on the goal, and on He who has the power to reward.

A certain Christian author (either Neil Anderson, or Robert McGee) said that the world functions in a rejection paradigm. The world rejects those it doesn't approve of, and then accepts those it does approve of. It did this to Christ and the the prophets, and this mechanism is fully in force today; in the church as well (even most especially). We are told to go along, to get along.

It takes courage and faith to believe we can take the road-less-traveled and come out safe on the other side, and we must be certain of Christ's love and acceptance of us to even get started.

Melanie said...

Thanks for adding these comments William. You have added more "flavour" to my original "dish". I especially like the part about being certain of Christ's love and acceptance of us to even get started. That goes such a long way in "girding us up" to go wherever and do whatever He calls us to.

Anonymous said...

When you look upon His face for the first time........it will not be the face of a stranger!!!!