He will wipe every tear from their eyes” (Revelations 21:4)

Might we find ourselves shedding tears of regret when we think back upon how we squandered our lives despite the opportunities God gave us. After all, even as believers we will give an account “for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Just imagine: We will all stand individually in the presence of Jesus, who will thoroughly evaluate our lives to determine the rewards we will receive. We’re not suggesting we will see our sins, since they have been forgiven by Christ and therefore will not be held against us. Nevertheless, our lives will be thoroughly reviewed. What if God were to take all we have done (and not done) and turned these deeds and attitudes into either gold, silver, and precious stones, or into wood, hay, and stubble? Then when He puts a torch to the heap, the fire will “test the quality of each person’s work” (1 Corinthians 3:13). In this way, our lives could be tested even without us seeing our sin. We won’t be judged for what we did prior to our conversion; in other words, we will not be judged for what we did since our “first birth,” but what we have done since our “second birth.” The apostle Paul evidently expected to do well at the judgment seat, even though he was a violent criminal before his conversion, throwing Christians into prison and supporting those who killed them. At the end of his life, Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).
Think about the implications of this coming judgment.
1. Every day is either a loss or a gain (or a mixture of both) as far as our future judgment is concerned. The great evangelist George Whitefield requested that these words be carved onto his gravestone: “I am content to wait till the day of judgment for the clearing up of my character. And after I am dead I desire no other epitaph than this, ‘Here lies G.W. What sort of man he was the great day will discover.’” The anger of Whitefield’s critics and the praise of his friends will not count; only what Jesus says and thinks will really matter. At issue will not be the size of our ministries or even the extent of our influence, but rather whether we lived wholeheartedly for God.
2. If we are faithful, our reward will be to rule with Christ in the coming kingdom. Although it might well be that all Christians get to reign with Christ, the Bible makes such a privilege conditional: “If we endure, we will also reign with him” (2 Timothy 2:12). And it is clear that those who are most faithful will be given more responsibilities in the life to come (Luke 19:11-27). Be assured that how you live on earth as a Christian has eternal implications.
Our most pressing responsibility is to live passionately for Jesus Christ so that we will not be ashamed at His coming. Jesus is generous, and He is committed to rewarding us beyond our imagination. Live to Him with each day and let us shed less a tear for our missed opportunities.
In His Service,
Eric Barnes