What is true faith? Joni Eareckson Tada, who is a quadriplegic, learned that true faith does not necessarily equip you to arise from a wheelchair, but true faith equips you to use adversity as a means of bringing people into the kingdom of God. She said that she was constructing with an eye towards eternity. She's one of my heroes of the faith and she has exhorted me through her ministry and her personal life to do so as well. She says that every day we have the opportunity to roll up our spiritual sleeves and apply our spiritual energies towards building something that lasts. In our lives it will last. In the lives of others it will last.
"We will bring to the Judgment Seat of Christ all that we are and all that we have done. One look from the Lord," says Joni, "will scrutinize the quality of what we've built and selfish service will be consumed in a fiery flash. Although it's true that no child of God will be scolded, some will walk away scalded from the heat. Their only reward will be eternal salvation.
"This is sobering. I can't help but see myself coming away a little singed on the edges," writes Joni. "Don't get me wrong. I believe I will bask in God's approval for my service on earth, but pride and impure motives have probably sullied a lot of it. Burnt away will be those times I gave the Gospel out of puffed-up pride. Up in flames will go any service I performed for performance sake. Reduced to charcoal will be manipulative behavior and lies-dressed-up-like-truth.
"But, hey, even if a lot of people survive the judgment seat by the skin of their teeth, keeping only their crown of salvation, that's plenty of cause for rejoicing. Look at all the people who trusted Christ in their deathbed with barely time to say yes to Jesus, let alone build anything for eternity. Think of being snatched from the jaws of hell seconds before one dies. Such joy would be hard to beat.
"One look from the Lord will consume worthless service. But it will illuminate God-honoring service. Like gold and precious stones, pure service will easily survive the test. It is this for which we shall be commended....I want to put to death every selfish motive and prideful pretense so that when the Lord's eyes scan my service, what I have built will stand the test. I want to be careful how I build, and realize that every smile, prayer, or ounce of muscle or money sacrificed is a golden girder, brick, or two-by-four. I want everything I do here to be an eternal investment, a way of building something bright and beautiful there. That's how much things down here count."
"And no one will be left out. Each will receive his reward."