At our Monday night Lenten small group, we watched a video of an almost-one-man-show called "The Bema". My Sunnybrook friends may remember when Phil Freiburg did a 30-minute version of this a couple years ago. Because I'd had to trim the full show down for Phil's shorter performance, I had seen this script before, but I'd never seen the performance of the full show. An interesting production.
It's one man's idea of what the Bema Seat judgment will be like. You see, according to scripture, there are actually two judgments that happen at the end of the age. At the Great White Throne Judgment, our eternal destiny is determined. Those who had a right relationship with God through Christ go on from this judgment to eternal life -- which begins with the Bema Seat judgment.
At the Bema Seat, rewards are handed out. Our life is reviewed, and we are recognized for what
we did on earth that had eternal significance . . . and the rest of what we did burns away like "wood, hay, and stubble". We're already in heaven. The good things we do don't get us there, but they do matter.
As I said, this was just one man's idea of what this judgment will be like, but it's based pretty accurately on what we know about it in scripture, I think. And it's a moving thing to watch. Makes me long for the physical presence of my Lord.
But I did come away feeling a little like Schindler at the end of the movie. "This car . . . it could have bought ten more people. This watch . . . one more . . . " The regret. I could have done more. So much more.
I used to worry that the end would come and I wouldn't have been good enough to get into heaven. I'm not worried about that anymore. That's settled in my mind. Jesus was good enough, and his blood covers me. But now I worry-- . . . well, no, it's not worry really. I just find that as I grow in my understanding of who God is and what He's done for me, I love Him more. And the more I love Him, the more I want to please Him and the more I want everyone else to know Him, too.
(Now, please don't misunderstand me -- I'm by no means some great saint here. Like Paul, I'm well aware that I haven't "arrived" yet. I have a long way to go. But by the grace of God, I've come a long way already.)
Anyway, I just don't want to stand before the God I love and see all the opportunities I had to do things that mattered for eternity and find that I wasted my life on things that in the end will be of no consequence. "That hour I surfed the web . . . I could have spent that time talking to someone in pain, giving them hope, pointing them to God . . . those dinners we ate out every week . . . they could have paid for a well to be dug in a destitute village in Africa to give people life and hope . . . this thing, this thing I squandered for my own comfort and pleasure . . . it could have bought one more life."
Hubby and I talked on the way home about how we do this. How do we live eternally-minded when there are so many earthly things that require our attention (getting food on the table, keeping a roof over our heads, putting gas in the car, etc. etc.)? It's hard. But I think, for me anyway, it has to start with investing in people.
In our homeschool drama program in Sioux City, I found that if my goal was to put on a good show, I ended up making decisions that were not good for the kids. I had to adjust my goals. My objectives for that program were that 1) every kid came away having had a positive experience on the stage, 2) every kid grew and improved in some area during the production, and 3) every kid came to see theater as a means of worship and a means of ministry. And in the end, when we accomplished those goals, we ended up putting on a good show after all.
Invest in people. They are the only things on earth that are eternal. Lord, teach me how to do that every day.