An Account Book

--By Joseph Wang

Poets and novelists have often described human life as a bubble, the morning dew, a candle, a dream, a riddle, a song, and many other metaphors. In the Bible, it is portrayed as grass or flower of the field (Ps 102:11, 103:15; Isa 40:6-8, 51:12; Jam 1:10; 1Pet 1:24). The life of Abraham typified the life of a pilgrim, a wanderer, or a sojourner in a foreign land. The Apostle Paul compared his life to a runner, a fighter (2Tim 4:7), and to a stage or a spectacle (1Cor 4:9; Heb 10:33). The entire human history has even been revealed as the great image in Daniel 2.

Here we would like to link human's life to an account book. In other words, our life is just a record of all the things we have done, good or bad, kept in an account book. Although this may sound somewhat strange, it is a definite fact that everyone will have to submit his or her own account to the Lord during the final judgment. No one can slip away or escape from the judgment, as it is clearly shown in the Bible that Christ will judge all kinds of people, the believers and non-believers (Heb 9:27; 1Pet 4:5; 2Cor 5:10; 1Cor 4:5; Matt 25:19, 31-46; Acts 17:31; 2Tim 4:1; Rev. 20:12-15).

At this point a question may be raised. How will Christ judge the believers in particular? It is simple. All the believers' names will be found written in the book of life, so that their eternal salvation is already secured. As for receiving a reward or further discipline, that will totally depend upon the contents of each one's own account book. This indeed is a great matter, to which all of us must pay full attention. No one can afford to neglect it.

Several aspects of such an account book are illustrated in the Bible as follows:

1. The account of giving (Phil 4:15-17; 2Cor 9:1-15): We should exercise the proper fellowship (sharing) faithfully, diligently, and generously with the church. This kind of practice will surely issue a positive increase to our account and will be the most profitable, valuable and precious investment. Furthermore, certain warnings as well as encouragement regarding the matter of giving are included in both the Old and New Testaments. The most striking verse among them is from Malachi 3:8 --- man robs God in tithes and offerings. O Lord, save us from this.
2. The account of stewardship (Luke 16:2): The Lord clearly charged us that we should do business until He comes back. He will then settle accounts with us, and we will render our account of stewardship to Him (Matt 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-26, 11:2). Therefore, we should exhort one another each day to be prudent and faithful in managing the Lord's entrusted business, as long as it is called "today" (Heb 3:13).
3. The account concerning ourselves (Rom 14:12; 1Peter 4:5): Each one of us will give an account to God regarding our daily walk, our living, our manner of life, and our words in particular (Matt 12:36).
4. The account in regard to the promised rest (Heb 4:1-13): We all are encouraged to diligently enter into that rest.

In the common financial terms, an account book mainly contains two columns, namely, the liabilities (or debts) and the assets (or surplus) (cf: Philemon 18, 19). No one would be fully satisfied if his account book just barely balanced. Rather, the more surplus we have, the bigger reward we will receive, and the greater joy we will experience.

It is true that everything, including our life and breath, is in the hand of our sovereign God (Acts 17:25, 28). On the other hand, our life is still full of opportunities waiting for us to search, pursue, seize and utilize. Moreover, we may even ask the Lord to increase our measure or capacity to bear more burdens and take more responsibilities. We should not spend our lives in idleness or let our days slip from us. It is our own responsibility in following the Lord's leading to make every effort to live our lives unto the goal of obtaining the reward. Only then can more credits be added to the assets column in our heavenly account book.

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