It is said that Napoleon once ordered a coat of mail. (Mail is a steel mesh kind of armor in which metal rings are linked together and worn over the top half of the body to protect the chest.) When the artisan completed the armor, he hand delivered it to Napoleon. To the artisan’s surprise, though, Napoleon promptly ordered him to put the armor on himself. Then Napoleon took a pistol and fired several shots at the armor. Fortunately for the artisan, his work stood true, after which Napoleon rewarded him with a large fee.
I have no idea whether or not this story is actually true, but it certainly conveys a valuable spiritual lesson to every Christian. That lesson is: As we do our work for Christ, we should make sure our work is high-grade quality. Anything done for the King of Kings demands nothing less.
And as for the testing of our work, well, each Christian will one day have his or her moment standing before the King for examination. Romans 14:10 and 2 Corinthians 5:10 tell us that every Christian must appear before the judgment seat of Christ in heaven, and 1 Corinthians 3:13-15 explains that the judgment seat will somehow involve fire. Worthy work will come through the fire unscathed and be rewarded with heavenly reward, while unworthy work will be obliterated by the fire and fail to merit heavenly reward.
We Christians are so busy, aren’t we? We spend our days and nights running here and there, doing this and that, trying to carve out our various niches in life. But will everything we are doing withstand the fire of the heavenly judgment seat of Christ? Ah, there’s the question. The sad truth is that we shouldn’t even be doing some of the things we are doing, and we aren’t even doing a good job with some of the things we should be doing.
Christian, my purpose in writing this post is simple. I want you to slow down long enough to ask yourself, “When it comes to serving Jesus, am I doing the work I’m supposed to be doing? And am I doing that work in a worthy manner?” You see, your work isn’t my work and my work isn’t your work, but make no mistake, the Lord has work that He wants each of us to do.
The goal, of course, is each of us doing the right work in the right way. All such work will ultimately be rewarded handsomely in heaven. But if we are doing either the wrong work or the right work in a slipshod manner, we needn’t expect any heavenly reward for it. While the fire of the judgment seat of Christ can’t create a lost salvation, it can and will create a loss of eternal reward. That’s why you need to get this right, Christian. Neither your life nor your salvation is depending upon it, but your eternal rewards definitely are.