After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
— Matthew 25:19
No one likes to think about judgment, but there is a day in all our futures when we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give account for our lives. Paul makes this very clear in Second Corinthians 5:9 and 10, where he writes, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”
The judgment seat of Christ is a subject rarely taught today, but simply because it is ignored doesn’t mean it has ceased to exist. Some assert there will be no judgment for believers. However, these people are misinformed, for Paul makes it unmistakably clear that every person will stand before Jesus on that Day and give account for his or her life.
Our attitude changes dramatically when we live with the awareness that one day we will stand before the Lord “eyeball to eyeball” and answer for how responsibly or irresponsibly we lived our lives. There will be no fast talking on that day, because every lie and excuse will evaporate in His glorious light.
For this reason, I do my best to live every day of my life with the thought that one day I will answer for what I do. I make the most of every minute, walk in love to the best of my ability, use the gifts and talents God has given me, and strive to obediently and successfully fulfill every task the Lord has given to me.
In Matthew 25, Jesus taught a parable to let us know that a day of reckoning is coming for all of us. After distributing measurements of money to three different servants, a certain lord (or employer) left on a long journey. When he came back, he wanted to see what his three servants had done with the money he had given them, so he called them in for a review.
The King James Version of verse 19 says, “After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.” Just as this lord returned in the parable, Jesus is coming back again one day not so far away. Just as this lord reckoned with his servants, Jesus will reckon with us when He returns. Therefore, we need to know what the Bible means when it says Jesus will “reckon” with us.
The word “reckon” comes from the Greek phrase sunairei logon meta. It is a commercial term that means to compare accounts. It is also a bookkeeping phrase that means to look at the record, to study the facts, to compare accounts, or to settle an account. This phrase would normally be used to portray an accountant who is putting together a profit-and-loss statement for his boss. He isn’t just skimming the surface; he is digging deep to analyze the real financial status of the corporation.
It’s very significant that Jesus used this word because it tells us the Lord is never satisfied with taking a shallow look at what we have done for Him! Neither will He just accept our word for it; rather, He will search and dig until He obtains a real picture of what we did or didn’t do for Him. In the end, Jesus’ examination of the facts will result in a very thorough investigation as He looks at what we have done and then compares it to what He asked us to do.
The only other place this Greek phrase is used in the New Testament is in Matthew 18:23 and 24, where it is used twice in one parable. It says, “Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousands talents.”
As in Matthew 25, this parable pictures a king — a superior power — who calls his servants in for a review of what they have or haven’t done. By thoroughly studying and examining the facts, he obtains a real picture of their situation. Armed with this knowledge, the king calls his servants to stand before him and give account for what they have done.
In using these Greek words, the Holy Spirit makes it hard for us to miss the point that a day is coming in the future when we are going to stand before Jesus to answer for our lives. On that day, we will look into His eyes and hear Him say, “Did you do what I asked you to do?”
Revelation 20:12 tells us that there are all kinds of record books in Heaven. One of them is called the Book of Life, but this scripture also says there are “books” that will be opened, containing records of what we did and didn’t do on this earth. These records must be very important, for they are saved in the archives of Heaven itself. And in each of our futures, there will come a day of reckoning when those books are opened. On that day, the Lord Jesus will look over the “profit-and-loss statement” for our lives, comparing what we did to what we were actually supposed to do.
This judgment will not be in regard to our salvation, for if we are at the judgment seat of Christ, we are already eternally saved. However, that day will determine our reward. Those who fulfilled the assignment Jesus gave them will receive a reward (1 Corinthians 3:14). Those who were not obedient will still be saved, but they will have no reward to show for their lives (1 Corinthians 3:15).
Matthew 25:19 could be interpreted:
“And when the lord of those servants returned, he called them up for a review — intending to thoroughly look at all the facts, to examine all the accounts, to determine the real status of what they had and had not done, and to make them accountable to him for what he discovered.”
Life is very serious, friend. Jesus expects us to do something with the gifts, talents, abilities, and assignments that He has entrusted to us. Therefore, since we know that a day of reckoning awaits us, let’s do everything we can to please Jesus. Let’s live in the constant awareness that one day we will stand before Him to answer for what we did in this life.
Consider this question: If you were required to stand before Jesus today and to answer for your personal record, what would the records reflect about you?
Starting today, why not put your whole heart into doing what He asked you to do? Decide to step out in faith to use your gifts, talents, and abilities. Choose to put aside those fears that have kept you from a life of obedience; then move forward by faith to do what God has asked you to do. As long as you’re doing everything you can to please Jesus and to walk in obedience, you have no reason to fear that day when you stand before Him and give account for what you have done!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, help me live with the awareness that a day of reckoning is in my future. Your Word makes it clear that on the day I stand before You, I will answer for what I did in this life. I will give account for the gifts, talents, abilities, ideas, and assignments You entrusted to me. On that day, I want to look into Your face with confidence, so help me NOW to faithfully use the abilities You’ve given me to execute every task You have asked me to do!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I boldly acknowledge that a day of reckoning is coming in my future. On that day, I will give account for what I did or didn’t do in this life. Therefore, I will use the gifts, talents, and abilities Jesus has given to me. I will faithfully execute every assignment He has asked me to do. I will do everything within my power to please Jesus in the way that I serve Him. I will make sure that my conscience is clear with God and with myself.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Do you ever think about the day that you will stand before Jesus to give account for your life?
2. Does that thought give you peace, or does it bother you because you know you haven’t been obedient to pursue what God has asked you to do?
3. What do you need to do differently in your life to have peace about this question?