A few days ago, another believer asked, “Larry, why are you so passionate? Why not just slow down and enjoy the last days of your life?”
“Because I will soon appear before Jesus at the Judgment Seat of Christ and I fear that day,” I replied.
“What? Nobody thinks like that!”
“Well, I do and they should feel the same way,” I said.
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. Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade others… (2 Corinthians 5:10-11)
Not long ago, I started a longterm vacation from Facebook and other social media outlets. Plus, I cut back following sports, watching TV, reading mystery novels and most other hobbies.
For some reason or another, I recently checked the Social Security Actuarial Life Tables and looked up what the life expectancy was for a man who is 73 years old. It turns out that on the average, I can expect to live 12.43 more years. Now, what this really means is that fifty percent of the men my age will be dead in 12.43 years.
Yes, I could live a lot longer, but the opposite is also true, I could live a lot less.
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming novel:
A terrifying vision awakened me out of my spiritual slumber.
In it, I stood before the Judgment Seat of Christ. I wasn’t alone because hundreds of other believers stood there in numerous rows, waiting for the Judge − Jesus − to appear in front of us. I watched Him off to my left walking down my row with a torch in His right hand. He stopped in front of each believer, looked down and lit piles of what looked like grass and sticks at the feet of each person with His torch. The piles burst into flames. The piles quickly burnt out to reveal gold, silver, precious stones or nothing but scorch marks on the ground. Those who had precious metals and stones bowed down and worshipped the Lord. Those who had scorch marks wailed and screamed like they were in hell, even though they were in heaven.
I looked down at my feet and saw a puny pile. I knew this small heap represented all of my works done on earth for the Lord. Not much for a whole lifetime, I thought. A holy fear enveloped me.
I turned and looked at the person next to me and realized he was a successful Christian businessman, whom I greatly admired. He was an elder at Jedidiah Smith Community Church, Sunday school teacher, weekend street evangelist and well-known benefactor. The newspapers were always reporting on his philanthropy and many works.
I watched Judge Jesus bend over and light the businessman’s pile with His torch. The pile quickly burnt out to reveal nothing but scorch marks on the ground. The businessman fell to the ground and wailed at the top of his lungs. His screams echoed through my mind.
Oh no, I thought. If this businessman’s life did not please the Lord, how will mine be any better?
The Lord stood in front of me.
I looked into His eyes and knew His love was not on trial, but mine was at that moment. He bent over, ready to touch my puny pile with His torch.
“Lord, give me a second chance,” I pleaded.
He looked at me without straightening up. His torch remained close to my pile. “And what would you do differently?”
“I will serve you night and day without complaining. If need be, I will crawl on my knees across San Francisco on streets covered with broken glass to be Your ambassador. I will gladly carry cups of cold water to people, minister to them as Your servant and if you need a martyr for Your kingdom purposes, I volunteer myself for that assignment.”
He straightened up and looked me squarely in the eyes. His love melted every hindrance in my heart. “Remember to do your works to please Me, not to please other people like this businessman did during his life. He received his reward on earth. Go and be My servant.” (From upcoming novel, Still in the Fight)
(Continued in Part 5…but if you want to check out the whole series to date, click here.)