I heard the story of a Christian who died and went to Heaven. When he got there, Peter met him at the pearly gates. Peter greeted him and welcomed him to Heaven. He then said, “I’ll have Gabriel take you to your home in glory now.” As Gabriel and the man walked down the streets of gold, he was in awe of all the mansions. There were some enormous ones and the man asked who lived in those. Gabriel said, “Well that one belongs to Mother Teresa, that one belongs to Jonathan Edwards and that one is being built for Billy Graham.
As the continued to walk through the city, the man noticed the mansions were getting smaller. They walked and they walked for what seemed like hours. They started getting the point where houses were not only smaller, but they were few and far between. They walked up to what appeared to be a shack in comparison to earlier mansions. Gabriel said, “Welcome home.” The man was upset and confused. He asked, “Why does my mansion look like this and others look so amazing.” Gabriel simply replied, “This is all you sent us to work with.”
I’m not one who believes that we are saved by our works. I believe we are saved by the grace of God through Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. I also believe that James says that faith without works is dead. We are to live our lives in a way that reflects what God has done for us. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus to others. We are to help the weak, take care of widows and orphans, clothe and feed the poor and to defend those without a voice.
I Corinthians 3:13-15 says, “On judgement day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” The above story to me is a reflection of this scripture. We can be busy “doing things for God” and not be doing the right things that are of value.
Many of us live our lives as Christians having only accepted what Christ has done and then have never done anything with that grace. As I mentioned on my previous post about my theme for 2013, I want to do things this year that will matter. I want to make sure that what I do increases Him and decreases me. Not all of us can be a Mother Teresa, a Jonathan Edwards or a Billy Graham, but each of us can do things that matter just as much for the Kingdom.
When I was seven, I painted a poem in Sunday School. I remember being so proud of it. I painted it brown and then painted the letters in gold. It was perfect, at least in my seven year old mind it was! It said, “Only one life, ’twill soon be passed. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” Each of us has one life. Each of us have opportunities to do lots of things, but only certain things will survive that fire on judgement day. My prayer is that you and I find and do the things that matter.