Selected highlights from this sermon.
At the judgment seat of Christ, believers will be judged on the blessings that God gave us, the opportunities we had and what we did with them. Were we selfish or generous? Did we seek vengeance or accept the injustice, leaving it to God to sort out? Did we give our all at our vocation or merely slide on by?
One day all believers in Christ will stand before Him to give an account of what we’ve done with our lives. Even the motives of our hearts will be judged. Every day is a plus or minus in the rewards column. May we be faithful with what God has given us.
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“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.” That’s what we read in the book of Revelation, but the question that we have to ask ourselves is a very frank one–namely, what are tears doing in heaven anyway? Why would God have to wipe away all tears? Well, there are two answers that are generally given. One is that we will regret the fact that there are people whom we hoped to be in heaven who will not be there. And well might we weep when that takes place. But there’s another explanation, and I think possibly I prefer it, and that is we will weep when we think of the regrets that we have because of the selfish lives that we lived in light of all the blessings that God gave us and all the opportunities that we had, and because we did so poorly when we stood before the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ.
The Bible says that all Christians shall stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ, as we shall see. There are two massive judgments in the Bible. One is the judgment of all unbelievers, and we shall deal with that in a future message because this is a series of ten messages entitled “When He Shall Come” [retitled “The King Is Coming”]. And within time we’ll talk about the Tribulation and the antichrist, but this message is devoted to us as believers. And for those of you who aren’t believers, you need to listen in as well.
Now I need to say that the next message also is going to be on the fact that we are going to be with Jesus Christ in what is called the marriage supper of the Lamb. I believe that the judgment seat of Christ that I am talking about today is going to take place after the rapture of the Church. So as we spoke about the rapture last time, the judgment seat is next for you and for me.
Now there are many misconceptions about this judgment seat. Some Christians say, “Well, since it doesn’t determine whether or not I am going to heaven and only has to do with rewards, the way in which I live isn’t really that important, and furthermore, doesn’t Calvary cover it all? If Calvary covers it all I can live whatever kind of a life I wish to live, and I am going to come out okay.”
So let me explain that it is true that Calvary covers it all. When we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, our sins are forgiven legally-past, present and future, but this doesn’t mean that we can live as we wish. God disciplines us when we become disobedient, and He judges sin wherever it is found. You know in the book of Acts there’s the story of Ananias and Sapphira. Remember they told a lie, and as a result of that God had them killed. They just died. I can imagine that they arrived in heaven and they said, “What is this? We were believers and we thought that Calvary covered it all.” Well, yes, if they were believers, Calvary did cover it all. That’s why they are in heaven, but we need to distinguish that from the fact that God deals with us as individual Christians, and He desires that we live holy lives.
There’s another misconception, and that is when we talk about such things as being rewarded, that is selfish motivation. You’ve heard that said. And then there are people who say, “Well, isn’t it true that when we receive these crowns we’re just going to cast them at the feet of Jesus anyway?” implying it’s really no big deal. If we do poorly we get only one crown, but we cast it at the feet of Jesus, and then go on into eternity, and forget about the way in which we lived here on earth. It’s not quite that simple.
For one thing, I don’t believe that the rewards are medallions that we cast at the feet of Jesus. Now we may receive crowns that we cast at the feet of Jesus, but if we do, we’re going to pick them up again because we are going to rule with Christ forever and ever. I believe that rewards have to do with positions of responsibility in the coming kingdom. Faithful in that which is little, you rule over that which is little! Faithful in that which is much, that is to say you are very faithful in what God has given you, and you have a larger responsibility in the coming kingdom!
One day a man who claimed to be a Christian said to me, “You know, I am a Christian but I’m backslidden. I’m just doing my own thing,” and then he said, “You know, when I get to heaven, as long as I make it into the backseat somewhere I’m going to be happy,” which always make me look at those of you who are in the backseats. (laughter) I want to know whether or not you are happy and whether you are listening.
I said to him, “You know, that sounds so humble. You are just willing to be in the back row in heaven. But what if Jesus intended that you be in the front row, to use your analogy, and the reason that you are in the back row is because you displeased Him? The Apostle Paul says we live to please Christ, therefore he says, ‘We shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.’ The reason that you will be in the ‘back row’ (to use that analogy) is because of unfaithfulness and you didn’t please Christ.”
By the way, sometimes there are those who say, “Oh, you know when I get to heaven as long as I have some little shack up there I’ll be satisfied.” Have you ever noticed that sometimes the people who say that they are going to be satisfied with a shack in heaven are not satisfied with a shack on earth? My friend, go for rewards.
Jonathan Edwards said that he was going to use all the energy that he had to gain as many rewards as possible, because the more rewards you get, that means the more pleasing you were to Jesus, so go for it. Go for rewards.
There are two passages of Scripture and you need to turn to both. The first one is in 1 Corinthians 3 (as we warm up to the topic) where the Apostle Paul is speaking about rewards and speaking about lives and foundations and so forth. This is what he says in 1 Corinthians 3:5: “What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.” Oh, it would be so tempting to stop and comment on that but I shall continue. “He who plants and he who waters are one and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.”
First of all, he begins first with an architectural reference and then he begins to talk about agricultural. You’ll notice he said in verse 10, “According to the grace God has given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—each one’s work will become manifest. For the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.”
What the Apostle Paul is saying is we should think of our lives and our ministries as either gold, silver or precious stones, or wood, hay, stubble, and then when God torches it, the truth will come out as to what kind of people we really were and who we really served when we were here on earth.
Many years ago after there was a fire in Colorado, Rebecca and I were there and we drove past some of the homes. It was just unbelievable. There was nothing left except the chimneys because they were made of brick. In the very same way, the Apostle Paul says there are some people who will make it to heaven, but their works will be burned up. You’ll notice he says, “They shall be saved, but so as by fire.”
Dr. Harry Ironside, who occupied this pulpit during the forties, said that there are some people who will make it to heaven but will smell as if they were bought in a fire sale. They will just make it. The imagery is that their lives will collapse behind them. Everything goes up in smoke but they do make it into heaven. That’s what Paul says. “Saved so as by fire.” Well, today we’re going to learn how to build upon a foundation that lasts. All that actually is by way of introduction.
My text today is in 2 Corinthians 5, and you need to turn to it also. It’s very important. Paul says in verse 9, “So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body; whether good or evil.” And that is talking to you and to me as believers. No wonder he goes on to say in verse 11, “Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others.”
Today’s message is a very serious message. It’s easy to speak the words but to visualize what this is going to be like, that takes the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God, so I hope that your mind is open. I hope that your heart is open in a very honest way as we look today at the judgment seat of Jesus Christ.
Let me make a couple of comments. First of all, let me give you three characteristics of the judgment and then three life-changing lessons. That’s where we are going.
The first characteristic is simply this. We will be judged fairly. You say, “Well, where is that in the text?” Well, remember this is the judgment seat of Jesus Christ. He who died to redeem us now lives to judge us. Jesus is going to want us to do well. After all, he is our brother. He said to Mary, “You ascend to your Father and my Father, and to your God and my God,” and so because of the fact that we are united to Him, Jesus is going to take into account (because He knows all things) all the contingencies. He’s going to take a careful look at your life, but also at how you were impacted by others, the effect of other people’s behavior on you, and so forth, and there you will stand with Jesus and His evaluation is going to be immensely accurate. You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, will I be able to argue with Jesus?” Well, you’d be free to but hear it from here, you won’t. You and I will be absolutely convinced that what Jesus is saying is just and right and true and reality as it exists. You’re going to be overwhelmed, and I will be too, by His meticulous justice.
Also you’re going to be judged from the standpoint of when you received Jesus Christ as Savior–from that time on. I don’t believe that the life that you lived before you were converted is going to be part of the evaluation. You say, “Well, where do you find that in the Scriptures?” The Apostle Paul intended to do well, even though he was doing terrible things before his conversion (involved in the persecution of the Church, involved in even putting people to death), and yet he expected to do well at the Judgment Seat despite his sordid past.
One day a woman wrote to me after she heard me speak about this on the radio, and she said, “Do I have any opportunity to do well at the Judgment Seat?” She said, “In my pre-conversation days I was involved in some pornographic movies, and even now they are still being played in my head, and the evil influence that they are having continues.” I wrote back and I said, “Sister, I want to give you a word of encouragement. Yes, if you are faithful with what God now gave you, living a life that glorifies Him, you too can do well at the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. We’re going to be judged fairly.”
But now it becomes even more personal. We are going to be judged individually. Your Bible is open. “For we must all appear” and by the way, everybody’s going to show up; you are going to be there, and may I simply throw in the fact that I think you are going to be there on time? He says, “We just all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done, each one.”
Let me give you a passage of Scripture that is even clearer. In Romans 14 we read these words. “Why do you judge your brother?” Paul says, “Why are you judging your brother?” Let’s suppose that you are in the Church or you have some Christian friends and you are very critical of them. You don’t like them and so you are critical of them. Paul says, “Don’t you dare judge them. They may do better than you at the judgment seat of Christ.” He says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ,” and now I’m quoting “that each one may give account of himself to God.” Could that be any clearer?
I went to a Bible school in Canada that was so small that everyone who attended the Bible College sang in the choir. There were about sixty of us. The only requirement to get into the choir was to be there and having enrolled in the Bible College. I am not such a bad singer, but there were some songs that were maybe a little difficult or maybe I didn’t know the words, so I just mouthed them because I knew that everybody else would carry me.
When you and I stand before Jesus we all have to sing a solo. There will be nobody to hide behind. There will be no attorney to put the best twist on it. There will be no opportunity or willingness to say, “Now you know, if you really knew about this you’d understand why I did that.” It’s just one-on-one - you and Jesus, and there you are, and you know that he knows everything.
Is this judgment going to be public? You say, “I sure hope it’s not.” Some people think it’s going to be like in a large stadium with everybody watching. You say, “How embarrassing and how humiliating can it possibly be?” I’ve thought about this for a little while and concluded that I don’t know whether or not it’s going to be public. There are some parables that Jesus told that indicate that it might be. Remember when he said, “Take the talent from one and give it to the other.” I mean all that was public, but do you know something? If it’s public–two things! First, we’ll all be in the same boat, and second, I don’t think it’ll matter. When you are one-on-one with Jesus, the only thing that will matter is the expression on his face. The only thing in all the universe that you will care about (the whole universe can be watching) is if you will hear “Well done” or won’t hear “Well done.” That’s the only thing that will make any difference. It is a personal judgment. You, as a Christian, are going to go one-on-one with Jesus, each one of us giving an account of himself to God. Nobody else! You won’t be expected to account for your wife, or husband. It’s you and Jesus.
The first characteristic is we’re going to be judged fairly. The second is we’re going to be judged individually, and now you are going to begin to squirm. We are going to be judged thoroughly. Notice what the text says. Your Bible is open. “For we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ.” The Greek word is phaneroō which means to be revealed before the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ. One commentator says that it means to be laid bare.
I remember when we were kids playing with other kids, and somebody would say, “Oh, you have some money in your pocket,” and you’d say, “No, I don’t,” and he’d say, “Yes, you do. I don’t believe you,” and then we’d pull out our pockets and we’d turn them inside out, revealing even the last piece of lint. You know, it says in 1 Corinthians 3, the passage that we just read a moment ago, that we shall be made manifest. The same imagery is used there. After all, the fire is rather thorough, isn’t it? This is the final judgment, and John Murray, a famous theologian, says that Christians will desire it to finally see and magnify the grace of God and finally forever be done with the whole question of the way in which they lived here on earth.
Let me give you an example. Here is a Christian man who finds somebody else that he’d rather live with other than his wife, so he abandons his wife and the children and he marries somebody else and he goes and lives somewhere else. He doesn’t really play any important role in the lives of the children that he left behind, maybe sending them a birthday card once in a while or sending them a little bit of money, but he’s not involved. And then, of course, there’s a lot of animosity and a lot of injustice. You know how ugly those situations become, and then Jesus returns, and his wife, who is a Christian, goes to heaven with Jesus, and she goes up in the clouds and he does too. What do you think Jesus is going to do? Is he going to say, “Well now let’s just let bygones be bygones. The two of you just hold hands and walk into eternity and pretend that all that happened on earth just doesn’t matter.” Do you think that’s what He’s going to do? Absolutely not! This is the final place where adjudication takes place.
If you think I am exaggerating, what about 1 Corinthians 4? Paul says, “Don’t judge anything ahead of time because the Lord will come, who will judge even the motives of men’s hearts.” Can you get any more thorough than that? And it is there at the judgment seat that finally these matters are going to be resolved. That’s why it’s so important for us as believers to take care of all of these issues while we are on earth so that there are fewer issues to take care of when we get to heaven.
You know, when the Bible says that we should not avenge ourselves (“Vengeance is mine. I will recompense,” says the Lord.) we think that relates only to the unsaved. Oh no, no, no! The reason that you don’t have to avenge yourself even with another Christian is because we shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, and it is there that Jesus is going to set the record straight.
Now if you are thinking theologically, this is the question that is on the tip of your mind. I can read it. You are thinking, “Are you saying that we are going to see our sins that have been cast into the depths of the sea?” To quote John Murray again he said that if we do, we will certainly see them as having been forgiven because it is true that our sins no longer are held against us. This is not a point of punishment. There’s nothing like that. It is to determine rewards. But here’s what I think possibly could happen. What if Jesus took all of your works and translated them either into gold, silver and precious stones, or wood, hay and stubble, and you saw all of this pile, and then he were to torch it? It would give you a pretty good evaluation of your life without you having to see any of your sins. However it is done, it is a thorough judgment.
You say, “Well, is Jesus going to be angry?” No, all the anger of God was taken out when Jesus Christ died on the cross, but I can’t help but think that He might be disappointed in the way in which you lived with all that He gave you, because there you are, and if you are saved so as by fire, and the house collapses behind you, wouldn’t that disappoint Him? Paul says we should live in such a way that we please Him, which means that we can also live in such a way that displeases Him, even though He loves us just as much because His love is independent of our performance.
You know, there’s a man who had a dream that went like this. He said that in the dream all of his life was there in one big heap with various materials that he could not identify because you know how dreams are? They can be very flighty and very confusing, but he said that then Jesus took a match and lit it, and he said everything went up in smoke, and when it was done there was just a pile of ashes, and then he said he began to go through the ashes and the deeper he got, he noticed nuggets of a little bit of gold, a little bit of silver, and a little bit of precious stones, and so he took a little brush and took all the ashes away, and then he just brushed his little pieces of gold, silver and precious stones into a little tin. Maybe that’s the way it’s going to be. We’re talking about serious business here, folks. We shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ.
Now you say, “Pastor Lutzer, what is Jesus going to be looking for?” That’s an excellent question. I’m glad you asked it. I wasn’t going to answer that question, but I received email from someone who watches us on the Internet, so Bill, thanks for your email because I’m going to respond to that question.
Sometimes when I preach on this topic I preach a separate message on the question of what Jesus will be looking for, but since this is the only message on the judgment seat, I’d better give you four or five things that Jesus will be looking for, because you should know what’s going to survive the fire. I mean is there any question in the entire world that would be more important than knowing what is going to be the gold and the silver rather than the wood, hay and straw? So let me give you four or five things that Jesus is looking for.
First of all, he will be looking for the joyous acceptance of injustice and false accusations. Did you know that in the last year or two, seven books at least have been written saying that Christians are the real jihad, and we are the ones that America should really fear, filled with false accusations. Listen to the words of Jesus: “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my name. For great is your reward in heaven.” It will survive the fire if you respond to it with joy.
Something else, and that is, of course, financial generosity (in the sixth chapter of Matthew). We won’t even mention it because you know it’s there. Jesus said, “Lay up for yourselves treasures not on earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up treasures in heaven,” and he’s talking there about our gifts. To think that you are a stingy Christian should make you wonder whether you are a Christian at all because Christians are generous people. And so I need to ask you if you are generous in your giving? Do you enjoy giving because God has given so much to you, and you give in such a way that you will meet it again in heaven?
Let me give you another real important way to have gold, silver and precious stones. Hospitality! In Luke 14 Jesus tells this remarkable story. He says, “When you hold a feast don’t invite your friends because they might have you back.” He says, “Go out and find the lame and the blind and the infirm and have them over because they are too poor to repay you,” and then Jesus says, “If you do that you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” We shy away from rewards being thought of as payment but Jesus didn’t. He says, “Look for somebody who can’t pay you back, and invest in their lives and you’ll have something that will survive the fire.”
A few more! Faithfulness in your vocation! Let’s suppose that you go to work tomorrow and you don’t like your job at all. You don’t like the boss. Paul says in the book of Colossians that whatever you do, do it heartily for the Lord and not for man. If you don’t like your boss, don’t work for him. Work for Jesus instead, and work for your boss as if he were Jesus. This is what the text says. “For from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance.” A joyful attitude, heartily working, merits reward.
And then another one! Loving the unlovable! Jesus said this in Luke 6:35. “Love your enemies. Do good and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great.” God brings somebody into your life who is completely unlovable. Maybe they are sitting beside you today. Why that? God says, “I bring them into your life because I want you to have lots of rewards, so start loving them and your reward will be great.”
Do you realize how faithful Jesus is? The Bible says that for even a cup of water given in His name you will not lose your reward. That’s why the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 4 when it’s talking about Jesus revealing the motive of men’s heart, “Then shall every man have praise from God.”
Everybody is going to have something that God is going to praise him or her for. Every Christian will have something amid the ashes.
Now, I do need to clarify something at this point because some of you who are listening may not be believers in Jesus. You’ve never trusted Him as your Savior, and you are misinterpreting everything I’m saying. You are saying to yourself, “So this is the way to get in good with God. You are kind, you take in the poor, you give money, and you learn to love those who are unlovable. Maybe that’s the way to heaven.” It isn’t. All of our works are tainted with sin, and that’s why the Bible says that we are saved. It is not by works. As long as you are looking at your life to find some reason why God should accept you, you are looking in vain, and all of us want acceptance.
I just heard this past week that in Japan, for example, a shame culture where there is an emphasis on shame, that many people when they are fired from their job don’t tell their families, because they want to save face, and within time they might not even go home. They may become street people because they want acceptance, and this is such a blow to their acceptance that they can’t handle it. We all want acceptance, and most assuredly we want acceptance from God, but it only comes through Jesus Christ and receiving Him as Savior, because He was accepted and so we get to be accepted on the basis of His merit.
You say, “Well, Pastor Lutzer, why is it that before a person is saved his works are of no value to God, and yet after he is saved, they become so important to God?” A couple of things! First of all because after we are saved it is an expression of our devotion to Jesus as his children. That’s the first thing. Secondly, even now as believers all of our works are still tainted with sin, and Jesus takes them, cleans them up, and makes them acceptable to the Father. The Bible says that we are to offer spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God, through Jesus Christ. There is no other way to be accepted, even in these works.
My friend, to bring it down to the bottom line, there is no good in us. Any good that is in us is Jesus Christ. That’s what it comes down to. (applause)
And now I’m back talking to believers again. There are a couple of lessons that should transform our lives. We should leave here today and listen to this message as many times as we need to until we internalize what I am going to say right now.
First of all, it’s very clear that every day is either a plus or a minus. Every single day is either a loss or a gain so far as rewards are concerned. Whitefield was a great preacher in the United States of America and he died and wanted these words on his tombstone. He didn’t quite get them but I understand that the quote is close: “The manner of man George Whitefield was that day shall declare.” It takes your breath away. Whitefield was criticized for his preaching. He had disagreements. The newspaper sometimes didn’t like him and wrote articles against him. In that day nothing like that will matter because the manner of man George Whitefield was that day shall declare. The manner of man Erwin Lutzer was that day shall declare. And the manner of person you were that day shall declare. Nothing but reality! Wow!
One day Diane Sawyer was interviewing Billy Graham and she said to Billy, “How would you like to be remembered?” And Billy just looked away. He didn’t really answer the question. He kind of looked away and said, “Well, I’d like to hear ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant,’ but I don’t think I will,” and then he turned away again. And if I remember it correctly, that was the end of the interview. Two thoughts immediately crossed my mind. Number one, Billy, humility is good, but aren’t you overdoing it just a little bit? That’s what came to mind. And then the second thought was this. Billy, if you’re not sure that you are going to do well, what about the rest of us?
What Billy said is true from this standpoint. He’s not going to hear “Well done” because he preached to large crowds. That was his calling. The real question is not going to be how large the crowds were or the number of people who accepted Christ as Savior under his ministry. The real question is going to be, “Billy, were you faithful with what I gave you?” and that’s why we can say with truthfulness that the people who are going to be rewarded the greatest are not necessarily the people that you have heard about. It’s going to be the car dealer who actually ran an honest shop. It’s going to be the missionary who was in far flung corners of the world that nobody ever heard of but was faithful with what God gave him or her. Those are the ones who are really going to be rewarded and every day is either a loss or a gain so far as rewards are concerned.
One day a man whose wife had a disease took me to an airport, and she was very, very difficult to get along with. The stories that he told me as to why he continued to love her were overwhelming. I won’t go into detail but when he dropped me off I said to him, tongue in cheek, “I don’t expect to see you in heaven.” He was a little surprised at that, but I said, “No, I really don’t expect to see you.” I said, “I think that you are going to be so close to the front, and I’m going to be so far back that we’ll probably not meet.” And I know I meant it half humorously, but I also meant it truthfully.
The people who are going to be most rewarded are not those that you hear about but those who are faithful in their calling, whatever it may be, but every day is either a plus or a minus. It is true–you know that little ditty that we sometimes sing? Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.
Second, what is it that we are able to gain? What can we gain? Well, what we can gain is the approval of Christ and reigning with Him. I’m not suggesting that all Christians will not reign with Jesus, but it is very interesting that in the Bible there is frequently a connection of reigning with Christ and faithfulness. For example, Paul said if we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him. In the book of Revelation, you have repeatedly said, “He who overcomes to him I will grant with him to sit on my throne.” Now there’s one sense in which all Christians are overcomers because they have believed in Jesus Christ as Savior, but I cannot believe that somebody who is saved yet so as by fire, as we illustrated, whose life was lived selfishly for themselves is going to be rewarded obviously the same way as somebody who was faithful. You say, “Will everyone in heaven be happy?” Everyone will be happy just like a chandelier that has bulbs of different intensities, in the same way everyone contributing to the glory of God, everyone serving, but not everyone in the same position of responsibility because they were unfaithful here on earth and didn’t care as to what would survive the fire and what wouldn’t. So we can gain ruling with Jesus. What an honor and unthinkable privilege!
What is it that we can lose? Well I take the point of view–and some people disagree with me–that not everybody is going to hear “Well done.” Again I refer to that selfish Christian who is saved and who thinks to himself that he can live however he wishes because his salvation is secure. I don’t think that he is going to hear “Well done.” Maybe I won’t either. We shouldn’t take it for granted.
You know, in India there’s a story that they like to tell about a wealthy rajah. He was coming along in his beautiful expensive chariot and there was a beggar along the side of the road. And the beggar had his bowl of rice, and the beggar wondered if he might stop to give him something, and so he held out his bowl as the rajah went by. To his surprise the rajah got off of the chariot and went over and said to the beggar, “Beggar, give me some of your rice.” The beggar was angry. Who was this man to ask me for some of my rice? But gingerly and with anger he took one grain of rice and gave it to the wealthy man. The rajah said, “Beggar, give me more of your rice.” By now the beggar was furious but he did take another grain of rice and handed it over to the rajah. The rajah said, “Beggar, give me more of your rice.” By the now the beggar was in a fury. He took one more grain of rice and gave it to the wealthy man who then got on his chariot and rode off. In his anger the beggar looked into his bowl and noticed something glitter. It was a grain of gold the size of a grain of rice. He looked more carefully and found just two more grains of gold the size of his rice.
When we come to Jesus we trade our rice for his gold, and it’s the kind of gold that will survive the fire. So my question is what are we withholding from Jesus anyway? What are we hanging on to, saying, “This belongs to me and not to Jesus”? When eternity comes we shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, to give an account for the deeds done in the body whether good or evil.
Join me as we pray. Whatever God has said to you today, just talk to Him about it, would you?
Father, we pray, hear our prayer. We are in great need because we realize that so much of what we do may be passing instead of eternal. Forgive us, Father. Forgive us for our selfishness. Forgive us for failing to remember that we have to give an account to You. And for those who have never trusted Christ as Savior we pray that even in this moment they may believe. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
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