November 7, 2004: Judgement Is Spelled: R-E-L-I-E-F

Let us pray: Dear Savior, as we contemplate Your final judgment and the end of all things, part of us is apprehensive and part of us is thankful.  Our sinful flesh is apprehensive because it knows how often we have failed to invest ourselves in Your kingdom and in Your work.  Whereas our saintly side rejoices that when judgment comes we’ll be freed from the stresses and persecutions we face.  Today remind us to fix our gaze always on You—for it is You who makes us into saints.  Amen


TEXT:  Luke 19: 11-27

Fellow Redeemed Sinners:

I don’t know about you, but I’m happy that the election is over.  Just think: no more political advertisements, signs, and hype!—Hallelujah!  When I was in Vermont on vacation, one of the shopkeepers found out what I do for a living.  So, before I left, he had to tell me a joke about campaigns and elections.

It seems that a politician died and went before Peter at the pearly gates.  Peter told him: “Joe, we’re not sure what to do with you since we’ve never had a politician in heaven before.  So, we’re going to give you a chance to vote on where you want to go—heaven or hell.  We’ll give you a day in each place and then you can decide.”  Well, Joe decided he’d first spend a day in hell.  He rode the elevator down, down, down and finally it stopped and the door opened to hell.  Joe was shocked!  It was a beautiful golf course and some of his buddies were there playing golf.  They motioned him to join them and Joe had a great day on the links followed by a terrific meal.  That night he rode the elevator back to heaven.  The next day Joe spent his day in heaven riding on a cloud and generally hanging out.  After while he got rather bored.  He longed for the fun of the golf course in hell.  So, he went and told Peter: “I hate to say this, but I really think I’d rather spend my time in hell.  That’s my vote.”  So, again Joe road the elevator down, down, down, and when the door opened on hell he was shocked!  It was dirty, dark, and stinky.  His friends were dressed in rags and were picking up garbage.  The devil came up to him and Joe said: “Where’s the golf course?  Where’s the fun?  Where’s the good food?”  To which Satan replied: “Yesterday was the campaign, but now you’ve voted!”

All kidding aside, your life, your time of grace on this earth is the campaign isn’t it?  And at the end of your life, judgment day, election day, will arrive.  So, will it be a relief or a disaster for you?  Well, I’m here to tell you that as a Christian:



Toward the end of His ministry, Jesus told the people around Him the parable before us.  I parallels a similar one in Matthew’s gospel.  It seems a nobleman is going  away for a while to become a king and in his absence He hands out a mina (about 3 months wages) to each of 10 servants and tells them to: “Put this money to work until I come back.”  Upon the return of this King, He calls the 10 servants together to give an account of their stewardship.  We might say: “The campaign occurs when he’s gone, and now it’s election day, the day of reckoning.”  Well, one servant has increased the money 10 fold!  He’s commended for it and given even greater blessings.  Another has increased his money 5 fold.  Again, he, too, is commended and given great blessings.  This continues until the final fellow comes before the new King.  He immediately begins to make excuses.  “Sir, here is your mina; I have kept it laid away in a piece of cloth.  I was afraid of you, because you are a hard man.  You take out what you did not put in and reap what you did not sow.”  And what happens next?  The man is condemned by his own words!  His laziness and apathy have caused him to ignore the words of the King.  It has caused him to do nothing with his time of grace to profit his Lord and Master.  And so, what he has is taken away and given to another and then he is taken out and killed for his animosity toward the King.  To borrow the earlier joke: this man voted with his laziness and now justice cannot be denied.


Christ the King has given each of us time—a life to show forth the fruits of faith, a life to embrace Him, a life to invest our souls in His love and forgiveness.  Is Christ hard-hearted?  No!  We see that in that He gives each person talents, time, and abilities to use in His absence from planet earth.  In fact, He gives each of us the exact same amount of His love and forgiveness to invest.—Which shows that He doesn’t play favorites.  It shows that: “God desires all men equally to be saved and to come to the knowledge of His truth.”

No matter who you voted for in the last election, and no matter your political persuasion, all of us have to be a bit appalled by the post-election put-downs in the media espoused by the cultural elites of America.  Everyone is talking about those “red-necked, morally-driven Christians” and many are mocking the rationale for their voting patterns.  I read some interviews of people in Wisconsin on this subject.  One woman nailed it when she said: “It was all about absolute truth.  Many today mock it, but many of us really believe it and accept it.”

Christ is our King.  His word is truth.  He is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the One who put His life on the line to save our souls.  Christianity teaches that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.  Think of that!  God died to save your soul—forever!  He died to make you right with Him and to win a place in heaven just for you!  God gives this gift to you as a free gift.  You didn’t earn it. It’s a gift.  And all He expects in His absence is for you to invest it wisely, to share it with others, and thereby to honor Him.  And when you do—justice, the justice of thankful love is shown.

For those who reject Christ’s gift of love judgment is fearful.  Oh, they don’t believe it will happen—just like that ungrateful servant didn’t believe the King would return.  And because they believe they are accountable to no one but themselves—their rejection of absolute truth—they fail to life for Christ.  And so they are duped by their own arrogance.  But, for the rest of us who have to suffer the slings and arrows of their mocking while here on earth, judgment day is a sweet relief.  It is the validation of our lives.  It is the truth that even greater blessings are yet to come!  With that in mind, I’ll follow Joshua’s advice when he said: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”  Amen