Your Eternal Review

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2

Like many working people, I have an annual review. It begins as my boss and I work independently to think about my job description, yearly goals, and yearly accomplishments. Then we get together and talk about how I’ve done. I receive praise for my successes and guidance for where I’ve fallen short. We work together on goals for the next year. Part of what makes this whole process so fair and productive is the fact that I know exactly what I’m going to be measured by each year. Expectations for me are clear.

But what about our eternal review? What will happen when we sit down with the Lord and talk about our lives? What does God expect of us?

When it comes to the biggest question of all, that of our righteousness (or lack thereof), we will be covered by the righteousness of Christ. Our eternal destiny depends, not on what we have done, but on what God has done for us in Christ. In the classic language of Ephesians, we are saved by grace through faith (2:8). But God also expects us to have lived our lives for him and his purposes. He has good works prepared for us so that we might do them (Eph. 2:10). How will we be evaluated by God in the review to end all reviews?

We receive an answer from 1 Corinthians 4:2, though this verse isn’t directly talking about our eternal review. Rather, the Apostle Paul is explaining how he and Apollos, another early Christian leader, are servants of Christ “who have been put in charge of explaining God’s mysteries” (4:1). More literally, they are “stewards” (Greek, oikonomos) of God’s mysteries. Stewards were put in charge of the property of another, to care for it and use it for the owner’s purposes. Therefore, Paul explains, “Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager [steward] must be faithful” (4:2). The faithful steward is loyal to the owner, does what the owner has asked, and seeks the owner’s benefit.

You and I, though not apostles, are nevertheless called to be stewards. As human beings created in the image of God, we are to be good stewards of creation. As Christians entrusted with the good news of Christ, we are to steward this Gospel by living it out and sharing it with others. When it’s time for our eternal review, God will not demand of us a certain level of success, as in: How much of the earth did you use for my purposes, or how many people did you lead to faith? Rather, God will be looking for our faithfulness. Did we seek to honor him in every part of our life? Did we use well the gifts and talents he gave to us? Did we pursue his glory? Did we live and speak the Gospel, as we had the opportunity?

Faithfulness . . . that’s what God is looking for in us. Faithfulness will be the central theme in our eternal review.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION: How do you think of faithfulness? What does it mean for you to be faithful to God? Are there areas in your life where you could grow in faithfulness?

PRAYER: Gracious Lord and Master, I thank you for calling me to be a steward for you. What an honor to be entrusted with a portion of your creation. What a joy (and challenge!) to be called to speak and live your Gospel.

Help me, Lord, to be a faithful steward. Keep me from being preoccupied with myself and my successes or failures. Rather, may I focus on doing as well as I can—always by your grace and Spirit—that which you have given to me to do. May I, along with my fellow human beings, be good stewards of your creation. And may those of us who have relationship with you through Christ be faithful stewards of your Gospel.

I pray in the name of Jesus, Amen.