When it’s 110 degrees outside and the sweat is rolling down my back,
When someone was nasty when we knocked on their door and refused to take our bright yellow block party invitation,
When leading a group of 20-somethings feels like herding cats,
When I think of the pay-cut I took and the job security I walked away from,
When I have been working day and night for weeks on end,
and I miss my kids on the East Coast, the thought hits me:
“Why am I doing this?”
At this point the Holy Spirit usually brings several Bibles verses to mind:
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.
2 Corinthians 5:10
We will all stand before the judgment seat of God…So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
A year ago, Cathy and I travelled to Greece to retrace the 2nd Missionary Journey of the church planter Paul. One of the defining moments of that trip was standing in ancient Corinthian in the agora before a huge stone platform: The Bema judgment seat.
In the ancient Greek world of Paul, the Bema was the place where judges handed down sentences and where rulers handed out rewards to winning athletes. Paul used the term to speak of the great awards banquet that will be attended by everyone who goes to Heaven. It is at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ we would be rewarded for the sacrifice and the sweat we had put forth for God down here on Earth.
For the last year I have been trying to make decisions based on the fact that one day I will stand before Christ and my works on earth will be judged by fire (1 Cor. 3:11-15; Rev. 22:12). So why–at a time in life when most of our peers are focused on their career, house, cars, income, vacations, family, and comfort and security–did we leave a great job and move 2,300 miles from my family in order to start a new church from scratch in the spiritual desert of Las Vegas?
The answer is: “I will have to give an account of this phase of my life to Jesus.”
Now, as I make life choices, I ask myself: “How will this decision play out at the Bema Judgment Seat of Jesus?”
A few years ago, one of my publishers asked me to write a book about Heaven. In researching the subject, the most life-changing truth I discovered about Heaven was/is that life on Earth is merely the preparation for eternity in Heaven. We can increase our capacity to enjoy Heaven tomorrow by the choices we make today. The eternal investments we make now will determine where we start there. They will also determine what we have to give Jesus when we get to see Him face-to-face.
Let me ask you:
Why are you doing what you are doing?