The King on the throne spoke to the millions and millions about the holy fire that had burned away all of the stubble and straw from their lives—the trivial things, the worthless things, the acts done for mere show or out of secret or selfish intentions. When Ethan heard that, he had no regrets, because it was all so very clear to him now: in this place, the shiny tinsel of cheap, earthly achievements had finally been swept away like confetti, leaving at last only those things that would be truly worthy of praise—the pure acts of grace and sacrificial love and the honest, unpretentious labors that had been performed out of love for the King of kings who sat on the throne. And it was clear too why it must be that way—because, of all of the things that had ever been done on earth, only those acts that were fully true and truly good would abide forever in this realm where the ocean of Jesus followers stood before the King on His throne.
From Mark of Evil, by Tim Lahaye and Craig Parshall
1Co 3:10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13 his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15 If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.
From 1 Corinthians, by Paul
Have you ever thought about something like this?
I’ve read the words written by Paul – many times. And it makes me think about what I do in my life – going forward, least.
But the other night when I was reading Mark of Evil – for some reason, it really hit me.
Maybe because the context of the book seems more “real” – more relevant – to our lives today.
Probably the list of people and what they have done with their lives really drove it home.
Suddenly Ethan turned in a slow circle, scanning the millions around him. Breathless now, he saw in an instant that sea of faces, all those who would be honored by Christ the King.
Ethan saw the missionaries who had died from dysentery or from the spears of tribesmen in distant jungles and the humble and faithful teachers from obscure Christian schools around the world who had sacrificially imparted the gospel of Christ to tender hearts. He saw the pastors and secretaries and Bible study leaders and musicians and writers and Sunday school workers and campground preachers, radio talkers and television broadcasters, statesmen and lawyers, carpenters and brick layers. He saw tech engineers and late-night cleaning persons who with aching arms and tired feet were the last ones to turn out the lights in humble buildings that had been built on faith. He saw soup kitchen providers and rescue mission workers, and those followers of Jesus who lived out their lives in wheelchairs, on crutches, in blindness, or without limbs, and yet who still labored cheerfully in the vineyards of God to do His bidding, to preach the salvation of Jesus Christ to everyone they encountered. Ethan saw all those workers of a billion acts of unseen kindness and compassion toward the oppressed, the wanderers, the broken of body or mind, the poor, the diseased, who did it all for no other purpose than to spread the love of the Savior to those who desperately needed redemption and who sought His touch. These were the ones, the faithful, who had been saved by the blood of the Lamb of God, and now they would be rewarded by the Lamb, who was the King of kings and Lord of lords.
I know – we aren’t supposed to compare ourselves to others. But it really made me wonder – just how much of what I’ve done with my life will survive.
It doesn’t make me want to go out and become a missionary in the jungle. But it does make me think about the “why” of things I’ve done so far – and especially of the things that I will do with whatever time I have left. Is it really for Him? or is it for me?
What about you?
What will be left of your life after test of fire?
In Heaven, (apparently somehow) we won’t feel pride or arrogance over those who did less than us. And we won’t feel inadequate compared to those who did more. There will be no more tears. There will just be joy.
But we’re not there yet. And – if we’re really serious about what it means to be a Christian – don’t we want to do as much as possible to share what we have, as in The Great Commission? And to the extent that we don’t do as much as we could – when we do think about it, don’t we feel like maybe we let God down? It’s not about us making ourselves feel good about us. It’s about allowing the Holy Spirit to use us to save as many people as possible. As I’ve said before – for whatever reason, for better or for worse, God chose us to be the ones who are directly involved in saving all the people He created. If we all do nothing – then how will that saving message be brought to to others? Having been saved ourselves – should we not want to be as involved in that process as possible?
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So again – what will be left of each of our lives after the test of fire?