Wednesday, May 26, 2004
I don't know if there was ever a time in our son's life when he checked the mailbox so many times. Now you're thinking "Oh, a letter from a girl, huh?" No, it was grades from college. See, this was during our son's last visit home when he was going to college, and the grades for the semester just completed were supposed to be mailed to him at home. Of course, I was thinking they should have been mailed to me, because they sure mail the bills to me! Well, it got a little frustrating and as he talked with all his college friends, because they, in other parts of the country, already had their grades. And every day that they didn't come, well, he got a little more frustrated. Now why was he so eager to get his grades? He had every reason to believe that he had done very well this time. And finally, they came. Best grades by far since he started college - he was on the Dean's List! High five's all around!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Looking Forward to the Report."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from 2 Timothy 4:7. "I have fought the good fight," Paul says. "I have finished the race. I have kept the faith, and now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day - and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing." Man, here's a follower of Jesus who is looking forward to seeing Jesus. He says, I'm longing for His appearing. See, he's expecting a good report. He's looking forward to his grades from God. How about you?
1 John 2:28 talks about two reactions when Jesus comes. It says, "Abide in Him so that you will be confident, and not ashamed when He appears." I guess some people are going to be confident when they see Jesus. They're looking forward to it. Why? Well, you have been living all along for the things that matter forever, so you'll be stepping into everything that you invested when you see Jesus. You've been making your relationship with Jesus the number one priority of your life, of your energy, so seeing Him will be just the glorious continuation and fulfillment of what you've been doing here. Those who are really living for Jesus are the ones who are really looking for Jesus.
But, then it says some are going to be ashamed when He comes. Well, maybe you are feeling like that - "Not now .... no, no, no, not yet Lord!" And when you see Him, it will be "No, no, not now, not yet! I'm not ready!" Because you have stuffed eternal things into the corners of your life. You have been busy building an "earth empire" - stuff, people, achievements. In just one single moment, you'll know the truth of those often repeated words "only one life t'will soon be past. Only what's done for Christ will last." You will be ashamed because you don't know Jesus better. You were too busy to invest much in that relationship; ashamed because of the junk in your life - junk that helped kill your Savior. And now, here He is. Those who are neglecting and hurting Jesus are dreading seeing Him. It's not a report card to look forward to. And then, will there be anybody in heaven because of you when Jesus comes?
Paul said he was looking forward to his joy and crown in heaven - the people who would be there that he had reached for Christ. You see, here is some good news - the final grades aren't in yet. There's still time to change your report card. It begins by asking God to forgive you for the wasted time, the upside down priorities, the missed opportunities, the unrepented sin. And then, pledge to your Savior who you will see soon, from this day on, Jesus, I'm going to live for what lasts. I want to be loving you. I want to be living for you. I want to be getting rid of what hurts you. I want to be telling people about you. See, it's wonderful to be looking forward to being on the "King's List." The ones to whom He will say, "Well done. Come and share your Master's happiness."