Thursday, November 20, 2014

Final Judgement

There is no avoiding it. It will happen to all of us no matter how rich or poor, no matter what we believe or do not believe, no matter how long we may have lived. All of us will one day stand before the judgement seat of God. At that time, we will be asked to give an account of our lives. How have we used all the gifts we have been given? Did we put them to use in service of God and others or did we hide them out of fear?

It is not something we like to think about. All of us have made mistakes in our lives. We have all made choices that we regret. Most of us, if we could turn back the clock, would have made different choices. But that is not possible. We have to live with the consequences of our past actions and go into the future resolved to do better with God’s help.

At the same time, as we look back on our lives, we see good choices that we have made. There were times when we could have been selfish but chose to be generous instead. There were times when we could have looked the other way when someone needed us, but we chose to lend a hand instead. There were times when we opened our minds and hearts to God and were filled with His light. Those choices have brought many blessings into our lives and perhaps into the lives of others in ways we cannot even imagine.

Each of us is a mixture of strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and failures, saintliness and sinfulness. None of us is totally blameless but neither do we deserve a blanket condemnation. By God’s grace, we are what we are. And each of us for the most part is striving to do the best we can with the gifts God has given us.

It does happen, however, that we can grow complacent. We get into a rut of just trying to get by. Life can seem so overwhelming at times that we shut down and do as little as we need to to make it through. When that happens, we lose the big picture. Our life becomes just a series of disconnected days. Before we know it, we have lost time and lost ourselves. Like the servant who buried his talent, we let fear and anxiety keep us from investing our gifts and yielding a rich return.

That is why is it is important for us to remember that all this will not last forever. We will not get a second chance. This day and this time in our lives will never return. We will not be able to redo or undo the choices we make today. We must live this day well if the rest of our lives is to go well. We are building tomorrow on the choices we make today.

Jesus did not die on the cross for us so that we could just make it through life. Instead He wants us to live a full and abundant life. He wants our homes and our hearts to be full of peace, love and joy. He wants to pour out His blessings on us and our loved ones so that we can be radiant with all the gifts and talents He has prepared for us. When we are afraid or when we are willing to settle with just getting by, however, we cannot receive all that He has in store for us. When we bury our gifts and refuse to put them to use in service of God and others, then we cannot receive the dividends of peace, joy and love.

It is natural for us to wonder what talents we have been given and how we should use them for God. It is not always apparent to us. Many times others notice them in us before we see them in ourselves. There is really only one way to find out. First, we must pray to God and ask Him to reveal to us the gifts He has given us and how He expects us to use them to help build His Kingdom. However, we cannot sit around waiting for an answer. Instead, we must get busy doing whatever we can, taking advantage of whatever opportunities are in front of us to volunteer or to help out. Only then, by trial and error,  will we begin to discover how we are called to serve God and others. As we make the effort to serve, our talents will become clearer to us. Only by taking the risk of failing or looking foolish can we invest our talents and reap an abundant reward.

Life goes by very quickly. Time slips through our fingers often without our even noticing it. Nonetheless we can be deceived into thinking we have plenty of time to change the things in our lives that we know are not pleasing to God. But we have much less time than we think. The longer we wait, the fewer opportunities for doing good we will have. And, as Christians, we know better. Jesus told us that He would be coming at a time we would not expect. Today is the only day we have. Let us live it to the fullest by giving all we have and all we are to our Heavenly Father. Then we can stand before God not with fear but with confidence and hear Him say to us, “Come, share your master’s joy.”

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