Monday, December 11, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, December 11, 2017

God Is Our Ultimate Judge

Twinkie Clark sang a song at the First Cathedral in Bloomfield, CT entitled, “Only What You Do For Christ Will Last”.  Some of the powerful lyrics are, “You may build a cathedral large or small. You may build a skyscraper great or tall. You may conquer all the failures of your past, but only what you do for Christ will last…only what you do for Christ will be counted in the end.”

Percy Shelley's poem entitled "Ozymandias" was written about a ruined monument to a great king.  It had the inscription, “'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!' Nothing beside remains. Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away.” Only what you do for Christ will last.

Many of us spend our days striving for mastery of our craft, socking away money for our retirement, supporting our loved ones and hoping someone will remember us after we have left this earth.  But the Bible reminds us that after these few years of struggle, we must give an account of our deeds before God (2 Corinthians 5:9-10). We should consider spending a lot of our efforts on things that will count in eternity rather than things that have a short-term existence (1 Corinthians 15:58).

Getting a great career is fantastic, marching across the stage with a college degree in hand is powerful, writing books is outstanding, and gathering admirers is uplifting, but God says the whole duty of man is to fear Him and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14).  Making a lot of money will get you worldwide notice, adulation, power and fame, but we have to ask ourselves “Am I doing this because God wants me to do it or am I doing it merely to please myself?”

Quite honestly, striving for success in the world is important, reaching personal goals is exhilarating, having a loving relationship is satisfying, and developing our personal talents is necessary. But when all is said and done, we have to remember what is of lasting importance and that is loving Him, loving others, and obedience to God.  In the final analysis, this is His greatest commandment to us (Matthew 22:36-39).

You may not be a worldwide star, you may not have the latest fashions and your bank account may be non-existent, but when the ultimate judge reviews your life, He won’t discuss the many friends, the personal accomplishments, the flash or the bling.  Happily those who love the Lord can smile as He says, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord.” Only what we do for Christ will last.

2 Corinthians 5:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

1 Corinthians 15:58
New International Version (NIV)
58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14
New International Version (NIV)
13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter:
Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.

Matthew 22:36-39
New International Version (NIV)
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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