Back to School Blues
Let me just first say that I'm sorry. I can feel your pain. For millions of you, the vacation is over...and as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder, the school bell rings in the fall with pee-chees and papers and pupils (oh my!).
Those of you who think you bear the burden of back to school blues alone, I beg to differ. After I graduated from high school, there were four years of college, then two years of graduate school, then six more years of graduate school. So basically I was in school from a wee little 5 year old until I was thirty-two.
And you thought 7th grade felt long.
I had good teachers and other teachers that probably should have been born in the middle ages when there were torture chambers. My high school was designed by the same architectural firm that designed many prison facilities (no kidding!), and they had the awesome idea of running the heat when it was hot and the AC in the winter (again, no kidding!).
But you know what? I wouldn't trade it. For all my complaints and years of teacher jokes (like: Who invented fractions? Henry the 1/8th! ) and cafeteria 'food' that might have spoiled a toxic waste dump, I wouldn't trade it.
Why? Because school prepared me for the real world. I can write because of school, I was a youth pastor because of school, and I have a dream job at Dare 2 Share ministries because of Greg Stier school.
You know what else? I'm still in school, because there's an educational institution called life that is really just a prep for when we graduate to eternal life. Think about it, you and I may stick around and not kick off until we're in our 80's, but even 8 decades of life is an eyedropper of water in an ocean of time when compared to eternity.
So what does that mean? Get ready for the test. Wait...maybe you didn't know your life would be on the quiz? I'm sure many people don't, which is too bad - because we all know the red faced baboon feeling you get when you forgot to study, and the test looks up at you with its beady-eyed little taunting questions that might as well have been written in Mandarin Chinese.
The test is called Judgment Day, and God's Word talks about it in specific detail - so here's your study guide:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:11)
Basically, consider yourself warned. The "we" means all believers everywhere. Anyone and everyone who is trusting in Christ for salvation has an appointment for Judgment Day. The "must" means just that. No excused absences, no 'dog ate my homework', no get-out-of-judgment-day-free cards. I'll be there, and if you're a Christian, so will you.
What's on the test, you ask? Great question! The answer is you. The DVD of your life that will be played on Judgment Day contains the responses God is looking for. There are no right or wrong ones, just answers. And the answers that show up determine your 'grade'. So here are a few critical things you need to know for your heavenly finals:
- This isn't a test about salvation. The very reason you're at this judgment is the fact that you trusted Christ, so don't worry about whether or not you're 'in'. This is about what you go 'in' with - either rewards-a-plenty or the smell of smoke on your eternal outfit:
But on the judgment 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. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. (1 Corinthians 3:13-15)
- Christ does not grade on a curve. The standard scale is Jesus Himself, and as far as what is covered on the test, apparently it is "things done while in the body." I don't know about you, but the vast majority of my life has been lived in my body. In fact, the only out of body experience I can remember was the one I wished for when I was pulled over by a nice Mr. Policeman who wasn't having such a nice day.
- Start getting ready today. You cannot pull an 'all-nighter' studying for this one. In fact, every day and every night you are putting answers down on your Judgment Seat final, and by now you have probably guessed that there are 'good' answers, and 'bad' answers. Good answers are things like sharing your faith, avoiding sin, and loving God and others with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Bad answers are living a selfish, greedy, and unloving life.
So whether you're in school, homeschooled, going back to school, or just plain sick of school...remember that this life is a school, and you have one required mama-jama final before Jesus Himself.
Much more to write about this - but sorry - I gotta go study!
Head: What you need to know about this truth
According to God's Word, all Christians will stand before Christ on Judgment Day to get what's coming to them - whether good or bad.
Heart: What you need to feel about this truth
This is one test that you should have some anxiety over. Yes, heaven will be awesome beyond our wildest dreams, but I think Judgment Day is just a bit on the scary side. Don't freak out, though - let your anxiety drive you to live life the way God told us to, and you'll pass with flying colors!
Hands: What you need to do about this truth
This week, take some time to think about the things in your life that you're doing that you wouldn't be so proud of, then do something about it before it comes back to bite you on Judgment Day!