For the past few weeks I’ve been emphasizing the importance of doing what God has called you to do and being who God has made you to be. Last night I found out why I’ve been doing that. I received an email that confirmed everything. It was a Women of Faith Devotional, forwarded from a friend of mine, and written by Thelma Wells. In it she recounted the story of a dream that God had given to Rick Howard a dream that you need to hear about.
“Rick had a dream that he went to the judgment seat of Christ and was surrounded by people he knew. When it was his time to stand before the Lord, he thought he would be rewarded as the pastor of a megachurch and having fame in the media that surpasses many. He stepped up to Jesus sitting in the Judge’s seat and presented his works.
In this dream, Jesus tried Rick’s works in the fire—and they burned and burned and burned until nothing was left but a deep, black hole. The pastor stood there with a broken heart and asked Jesus why all of his works were burned because he had worked for the Lord all his career. Jesus told him that, no, he had not worked for the glory of God because God had told him to go into ministry on foreign fields. But because his wife refused to marry him if he went, the pastor had selected the woman over God. He had been responsible for millions accepting Jesus and for many great and wonderful works, but because the pastor did not accept the real calling of God and instead pleased his wife, his works were burned up like wood, hay, and stubble. Sure, the pastor entered into the kingdom of God in heaven, but he lost his rewards for the work he did on earth.
Rich also saw an old lady of no acclaim. Someone who was never written up in the paper, never appeared on television, did no radio interviews, and never spoke for a conference of any size. As she walked up to the judgment seat of Christ and presented her works to Jesus, they begin to burn. When they finished burning, what was left were stacks of gold, silver, and precious stones. This nobody on earth was rewarded at the judgment for edifying people while glorifying God. She received the rewards that Jesus will bestow at his judgment seat.
As Rich stood before the judgment seat waiting for Jesus to talk to him, there was a period of total silence and no activity. Disappointed and wondering, he woke up from the dream with no precise results.”*
What kind of pressure are you under today? Are you being pressured to eat the king’s food (worldly wisdom and media)? Are you being pressured to worship false idols (money, medicine, possessions)? Are you feeling pressured to be someone you’re not, do something you don’t feel is quite right? DON’T CAVE UNDER THE PRESSURE!!! Stand firm, be strong and courageous. Look at that fiery furnace before you and say, “O (fill in a name here), I have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18)
I think it’s always important with the story of the furnace to point out the “But if not”, for those circumstances where God doesn’t do what we hope and expect of Him. This doesn’t mean He’s not faithful and true and just and real. It simply means that He has a better plan that we can’t understand with our finite minds and perspective. If He doesn’t save in the way WE want Him to, does that make Him less God? No.
When we stand firm in our faith we have to stand firm with a “But if not” attitude, where come what may, we will still stand strong for God and HIS glory, knowing full well that it will not be easy.
In Rick’s dream his works were burned up because he chose his wife’s plan for his life instead of God’s plan. When I stand before that judgment seat of God and He asks me why I didn’t do what He told me to do; “because my husband told me not to”, will not be an acceptable answer. Ultimately, I’m responsible for my own life and how I live it.
We all have eternal life… somewhere. We have to live with today’s choices for eternity, no matter where we’re going.
God made YOU for a reason. YOU have a purpose, a position, a job that ONLY YOU can fulfill in this world. If you are not doing it then who will? If you’re not living out the dream that God placed deep in your heart then how will you answer Him on that day? The judgment seat isn’t for condemnation of sins – those have already been judged in the flesh of Jesus. The judgment seat is the day of REWARD. What will yours look like? You don’t have to do big things in human eyes to get your reward. You only have to do one thing – TRUST GOD. Trust His opinion of YOU. Trust His love for YOU. Trust His forgiveness of YOU. Trust His plans for YOU. They are plans for hope and a future not harm and destruction. The God of Love made these plans for you so they MUST be good! Good for YOU. Trust Him. Jesus loves YOU.
Lord, after weighing me in the balances of life, may I never be found wanting in Your eyes! In Jesus’ name, Amen!
* Devotionals Daily FaithGateway. Refining Grace by Thelma Wells. Copyright © 2013 HarperCollins Christian Publishing, 501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN, United States. All Rights Reserved. http://www.faithgateway.com/refining-grace/