Are You Ready?

1 Corinthians 3:12-14Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”

For most of us, life goes on pretty quickly. I can remember those days of laying on a hill near Lake Michigan, watching the clouds roll by trying to make out the shapes they formed. My friend and I laid there for what seemed like hours. We shared our thoughts. We laughed. We thought deeply – or as deep as a ten-year-old can think.

I am finding that as I am more ‘chronologically gifted’, I become more nostalgic. The ‘good old days’ are swift becoming the ‘golden oldies’. This generation has picked up the music of my day and calls it ‘classic’. Cars we drove are collector’s items. Baseball cards that we used to clothespin to our bikes are worth hundreds of dollars.

But remembering and reminiscing can be a two-edged sword. While the days gone by are just that, I cannot draw myself back to those days any more than I can travel through time. If I have not learned the lessons from those days, I will be sure to repeat them.

God’s Word has a way of bringing a very stark reality to the forefront.

All die.

James 4:14Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

That steam on a cold day that appears as we breathe and vanishes so quickly illustrates that point. Many cling to this world, this life and seemingly cannot loosen their grip. It becomes all they see; all they live for. But what is waiting for all of us is an eternity – somewhere.

That passage into eternity will not happen without meeting the One who created us. As He is the Author of all things living. We will come to stand before Him to be judged for the things we have done, the things we have said – and… the things we didn’t do.

Today’s text is a stark reminder that Someone is keeping track. Someone is writing down everything about me and my life. One day, I will come and all will be presented and have to pass through that fire.

That which is of this world and holds no eternal value will burn. That which God says will last becomes the very material we have earned to forge the gifts we will give back in thanksgiving for rescuing us from eternal damnation.

Someone once said:

“Hell is a prepared place for the unprepared.”

The death of a loved one or someone close to us has a way of bringing our own mortality to the forefront. Mine came at the tender age of seven. My grandmother passed away and we attended her funeral. The church service was a solemn event. Many tears were shed as my grandmother was well-known and much loved in her church.

Then, we traveled to what I learned later was a Polish wake. A band played. People danced. Alcohol flowed and much food was served and this seven-year-old boy was greatly confused. How could we be celebrating when just a few short hours ago we were weeping?

My mother told me we were celebrating her entrance into Heaven.

Today, I know that is not true. My grandmother was religious, but, as far as I know, she was not saved. I wish I could go back. Back to tell all my loved ones the truth I came to learn at age 31 – how that Jesus died to save sinners – of which I KNOW I am one!

When I stand before my King, I will go through that fire. I will not be immune, exempt or excused. What I have done will be just that – done. All the preaching, teaching, witnessing, loving, living, giving, and serving will be over. My work here on earth will be judged for what sort it is.

Each twenty-four hour period is given us to live out. How we choose to live today is just that – our choice. Often, my prayer is that I am given the strength, grace, wisdom, and discernment to live as it would please my God – and not me.

I am not devoid of selfishness and selfish behavior, but knowing I am His now; His child, makes all seem different. One day I will see my Father and have to give account. My prayer is that He will be pleased with me and what I’ve done.

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