The “Brave New World” of the 21st Century requires a “Brave New Discipleship” strategy.

You Are Headed to the Hall of Fame

Posted on: February 28, 2017


In last week’s post, I talked about accepting the challenge to become spiritual olympians. I ended with the implicit challenge: What would God do in us and through us if we, as Christians, became as dedicated to our spiritual progress as Olympians are to their athletic progress?

In a continuation of that theme, I recently had the unexpected pleasure of being inducted into my high school athletic Hall of Fame. Admittedly, this was because I was a fish in a small pond, which was a high school in rural north central Indiana. Had I attended a large city high school, it would never have happened. Nevertheless, that did not diminish the enjoyment as, one-by-one, the inductees were brought front and center and chronicled forever in that coveted archive.

The Friday night before the induction ceremony on Saturday night, all the inductees were introduced during the halftime of the varsity basketball game. My 94-year-old aunt, who attends every home game, was there, along with a bevy of her descendants. Her daughter, my cousin, was sitting beside her. My cousin’s daughter was sitting in front of her. And her son was out on the floor playing in the varsity game. Four generations united by basketball, which is alive and well in the heartland of Indiana!

The next night, at the induction banquet, one by one, the inductees were introduced, the highlights of their athletic careers were spotlighted, we each had an opportunity to speak, and then we were each awarded an engraved trophy to commemorate the event. There were many stories told, a lot of laughter, a few tears, and a room full of warm bonhomie.

Later, my wife and I reflected on how like heaven that experience was, and how all God’s children can look forward to being inducted into the heavenly hall of fame in a ceremony much like, though much grander than, that one.

At the Hall of Fame banquet, I was recognized for some things that I expected, but I was also recognized for some things that I didn’t expect. There were things I had forgotten about. There was an official record where it was all written down, and even though I would not have rewarded myself for some of the things because I had forgotten about them, I was rewarded, nevertheless, by those who had kept the official records.

So I started thinking about the parallels. Each of us, as Christians, will one day stand before a large group of people where we will be recognized: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

The term “judgement seat of Christ” is often misunderstood because of the word “judgement.” But it is not a place of condemnation or punishment. Rather, it is an athletic term. It is actually just one Greek word, bema, which refers to the ancient Greek equivalent of the three stands of today’s Olympic games used to confer the bronze, silver and gold medals. As an olympic official gives a reward for those who have won the Olympic games, so we will receive a reward for those things we did in service to the Lord in our lifetime.

To this, I add the scenes of worship from the book of Revelation that portray vast multitudes of worshippers in heaven (5:13, 7:9), and my assumption is that the judgment seat of Christ will be just such a scene, with a numberless assembly of people who will gather before the Lord to honor the good works of His children during their lives on earth.

So, for all of us, there may be some things that will not surprise us, but like me at my athletic hall of fame induction, there may be things that will surprise us at our heavenly hall of fame awards… things that we had forgotten about, or things that were done so selflessly we didn’t even realize we would be rewarded for them.

Everything we are doing now is being recorded (Malachi 3:16, Revelation 20:12) and is storing up reward and recognition for us in the future. We can’t even give a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name without getting a reward for it (Mark 9:41).  As someone has said, “you can’t take it with you, but you can send it ahead.”

And as for the troubles of this life? Well, just like in the grueling demands of athletic preparation and conditioning that we talked about last week, they will disappear. As the apostle Paul said, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:18)

When the other inductees were receiving their recognition, I was enjoying every minute of it, participating vicariously in their honor, knowing that mine was coming. And I think that when we get to heaven, I will enjoy watching your recognition and you will enjoy watching mine. It will be one big Mutual Admiration Society.

Then when we have received our rewards, there is evidence to suggest that we will turn around and give them to Jesus, who made them possible in the first place, continuing the one-for-all, and all-for-one theme of Scripture. (Revelation 4:10)

And, if my experience of this earthly induction into a hall of fame was any indication, we are all going to have a great time at the heavenly hall of fame! So look forward to your induction into the heavenly hall of fame. It’s coming.


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