DATE: July 20, 2019
TEXT: 1 Corinthians 5:10 - ESV -1\0 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.
Over the years I have met many famous and important people. Some had educational degrees behind their name, others had titles in front of their names. In one form or another all were acclaimed or despised by the public.
But there will come a time when the public and the government’s opinion will not count. Of course I speak about the day when all earthly claims on us will end and we will be standing alone before our Creator and our final judgment.
Let me illustrate.
On March 15, 1989 Zita, the last empress of Austria and the last queen of Hungary, died. Zita was buried, as had so many of the Hapsburgs who preceded her in death, in the royal crypt in Vienna. In the age of computers, and moon landings, the ancient rituals of her burial might seem out of place.
This is what happened: when the procession arrived at the church, someone knocked on the door. From inside the crypt, one of the monks asked who was there. The procession officially answered, "Zita, Empress of Austria, Queen of Hungary and of Bohemia, Princess of Bourbon-Parma." They were denied admittance.
A second time someone knocked. "Who is there?" "Empress Zita," was the answer. The door remained locked. There came yet a third knock. "Who is there?" "Zita, a poor sinner," was the answer. Only then was the procession allowed to enter.
In death, the empress had become a simple, sinful soul before her Lord.
It makes little difference if you are Hannibal, Alexander, Tamerlane or Schwarzkopf, the day will come when the armies will be gone, and the Generals will stand before their Creator. The riches of a Midas, Caesar, Rockefeller and Gates will no longer make a difference in the Divine balance sheets.
On that day every person will be alone, and only one thing will matter: was Jesus Christ your Savior and Lord. If He is, we will have rendered a life of thanksgiving to Him. We will do so not because we have to, but because we cannot help ourselves.
Sadly, most people put far more effort into rendering unto Caesar than they do God.
Not so long ago, I talked to a lapsed individual at church. When I asked, "Why do you forget the Lord, when you would never forget to pay your taxes?" His reply was simply: "Well, pastor, I guess it's because the Lord doesn't push as hard as the government does."
Well, maybe the Lord figures that He shouldn't have to push so hard - not after He's seen His Son on the cross. So, the next time Jesus says to me, "Will you recognize God's claim upon you?", I will say, "Dear Lord, with joy!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, forgive me for worrying more about tax rates and traffic laws than I do about the spiritual condition of my friends and family. Help me to make a proper rendering. In Your Name. Amen.
The music which introduces and concludes our devotions was written by Guy Baumann. He along with three of his brothers perform on the album: The Baumann Brothers which may be ordered here: http://thebaumannbrothers.com/index.html