I’m not afraid of my death. I just don’t want to be there when it happens. —Woody Allen
If you’re like me, there are some appointments that you would just as soon not keep. The dentist for a root canal, the accountant for taxes, the doctor for the famous “after 50” physical… Yes, it feels like we should avoid them like the plague.
I think funerals are like that—and not just other people’s funerals, but our own. Wouldn’t we just as soon avoid that appointment, too? Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe we’re afraid of death only because we aren’t certain about what lies on the other side. Maybe if we knew the truth and believed it, it would change our perspective. Let’s take a look:
Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)
That’s a powerful, loaded passage. And it’s kind of schizophrenic, too. Paul is saying that he would rather be away from his physical body and face to face with the Lord, but in the same breath, he says that we have to appear before the “judgment seat of Christ.” This is a different moment than when believers in Christ will be separated from those who don’t believe. Paul is addressing believers in Christ here, saying that everyone who is in Christ will stand before Him and have “the talk.” That’s one appointment that we have to keep.
Sobering? Exciting? Terrifying? Seem too far away to matter?
We could feel all those things thinking about standing before the judgment seat of Christ. It is definitely “the big moment.” It is the summation, the conclusion, the review of our entire earthly life. Are you ready for it?
Lord God, Your Scripture says that You are a righteous judge. But what will it be like to stand before You on that day? Lord, open my mind, open my heart, shape my will as I ponder that inescapable appointment with You. Transform my soul and my mind so that I might worship You with my body in a way that anticipates that powerful day. Amen.