Dear Friends,

More certain than death or taxes – we will meet the risen Jesus Christ.

Scripture says everyone will stand before Him –
• all the nations will be gathered before Him (Matthew 25:32)
• the righteous and the wicked will be there (Acts 24:15)
• all who are in their graves will be there (John 5:28)
• all who are alive at His coming will be there (1 Thessalonians 4:15)

It will be a day of tremendous joy as those who welcomed Christ are welcomed into glory and it will be a day of tremendous grief as those who refused Christ are refused and sent away.
A The Christian will not be condemned since there can be ‘no condemnation’ for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1).
B The Christian will give account for the use of gifts and receive what is due for our lives ‘while in the body’ (2 Corinthians 5:10).
Jesus told parables about servants who were given resources or opportunities – rewarding those who sought to be faithful and rebuking those who sought to be otherwise (e.g. Matthew 25:14-30).
Here are some observations of my own on this stewardship issue:

  1. Have you considered how glad you will be (now that you are persuaded the resurrection is real) that you invested in what will last – and have you considered how tragic it will be to keep back what you’ve been given as you move into eternity? The hard-nosed hoarder will look very foolish.
  2. The use of gifts in the parables can be gifts we all have (in Luke 19:13 every servant is given the same) – like time, contacts, gospel, etc. or they can be very different (in Matthew 25:15 servants have five, two or one gift to steward) – music, admin, teaching, etc.
  3. It is clear then that Jesus is interested in the whole of our life – how we lived as His people in the world, in our families, in the church and in private. Being on a roster at church is wonderful but it’s not the sum total of your gifts! It’s your life that interests Him.
  4. The Christian who seeks – with the strength He provides – to be His servant through the week in all contexts can expect to meet the Lord with the joy of salvation and with immeasurable encouragement as He gives His “well done”! This affirmation will outweigh all accolades in this world. Of course, we feel our feebleness but it’s the willingness (not the success) that He delights in.
  5. Watching the way people serve around St Thomas’ – disciplined preparation for teaching, careful hours with property and money, patient love for restless children (or adults), sweaty labour in the kitchen or around the property – or a thousand things that are done through the week in witness, generosity, thoughtfulness and service – is testimony to transformed lives.
  6. But if you are receiving good things at St Thomas’ (and it’s possible you are) you must think about your contribution. Someone once said “live so as to be missed” and you could ask yourself how things would go if everyone was like you –
    • how would Sunday gatherings go? (well attended?)
    • how would the giving go? (generous?)
    • how would the prayer meetings go? (keen?)
    • how would the ministries go? (active?)
  7. Finally serve the Lord with growing love for Him
    “The barrier to intimacy with Christ is sin…If a husband comes to me and says “my wife and I are having difficulties lately – oh by the way I’m having an affair” I will say “stop the affair!” Christians – stop having affairs with the world. You won’t desire Christ if … you’re cheating on Him spiritually … each time you indulge in that sinful activity you are saying “I do not love Christ””. ­— Douglas O’Donnell
    So we will meet Him – safely if we trust Him – and may it be as good stewards too of all He has entrusted to us.

Simon Manchester