Last Saturday March 6, 2010, I called Busayo, my youngest brother to wish him a happy 30th birthday and we got talking about how we needed to get serious about living for the purpose for which we were born/created.
The next day at Church, Bishop David Burton spoke on the believers’ rewards and spoke on judgement, according to the bible. According to the bible, there are 2 types or sessions of judgement. One is called the Great White Throne Judgement, where those who did not receive Jesus Christ will be judged for their decision not to accept God’s answer for humanity’s redemption. The other judgement is called the Judgement Seat of Christ, where those who accepted Jesus Christ will be judged for their deeds.
Those who accept Jesus Christ on earth need not fear the Great White Throne Judgement, which is really to be feared. However, they are also accountable to God for what they did with the privilege they were given to be God’s offsprings.
I could not help connecting my conversation with Busayo with Bishop David Burton’s teaching regarding rewards and judgement.
As someone who has received Jesus Christ, there is a relief that knows no bounds, to be free from eternal damnation from Him who has every right to damn anyone, but who has clearly stated under what conditions damnation will occur or will be avoided and has left the choice entirely with us. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” The offer is very clear, the benefit of acceptance and consequences of refusal are very clear, making anyone who is aware of it without excuse.
However, even though there is an unspeakable relief in me to be free from perdition, I still have a strong sense of accountability to the One who gave me all privileges including natural life and spiritual sonship. Bishop Burton said regarding believers in Christ, “In the past, God treated us as sinners. In the present he treats us as sons and daughters. In the future He will treat us as stewards to be held accountable.”
I have a burden to live now as a steward who will be held accountable for whether or not I completed the purpose for which I was born. I will be held accountable, not by any human being, not by any government or human authority, for how I treated every human being that came my way. I will be held accountable for my contribution to or abuse of individual human beings. The righteous Judge said he will hold us accountable for how we (who claim to be his followers) treated the helpless, the downtrodden, those we can easily get away with abusing.
As a husband, father, son, brother, I have a joyful responsibility to be a blessing to everyone in my various roles, not merely for their sakes but for the sake of Him who gave me the privilege to be in those roles.
As one whose calling is in business, I have a joyful responsibility to do business as though I am accountable, not primarily to clients, staff, suppliers or regulatory authorities. But to the One who created those individuals and gave me the commandment to treat them kindly, including those who abuse me or are suspicious of my kindness.
My present and eternal accountability gives me a strong sense of responsibility to do business as though people mattered to my Lord, as though being in business is a privilege to be a blessing to individuals and not just an opportunity to profit from them. I have a strong sense of joyful responsibility to use every talent, every skill, every privilege to serve the interest of Him who is worthy to be served, who shed His blood and gave up His life as a ransom for all, who is love personified.
How can an expectation of judgement be accompanied with joy? The same way as a student I looked forward to exams not with trepidation but with excitement because I knew what to expect. I knew the syllabus, I had mastered it, I trusted that the examiner will not hold me accountable for what is outside the scope of the subject and I knew what rewards awaited excellent performance.
Let us assume one owed an amount they could not possibly pay no matter what they did and their debt was forgiven by the creditor. But this debtor is owed tiny fractions of the original debt, by others. There is a high chance that they will joyfully treat their debtors well, even if they will be held accountable for doing so, considering they have been forgiven of an impossible debt.
I imagine no one will receive commendation or damnation from the righteous Judge by accident just like no one passes or fails a test by accident, under a fair system. I don’t think anyone will be totally surprised with their lot on judgement day (in time and in eternity) because expectations are clear, rewards are clear, consequences are clear.
When Jane Rabinowicz, the immediate past Executive Director of Santropol Roulant announced to the board (with adequate notice), that she would be leaving, she told the board that she believed she had done what she came to do as an ED. We all agreed that she had performed excellently. I was moved by her statement because I think she summed up my aspiration. I told Busayo about this and how it will be great to live our lives such that we can say even before we pass on, that “I have completed my course, I am satisfied with the legacy I am leaving behind and I know with certainty what awaits me on the other side.”