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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Exams (07/26/04)

TITLE: The Exam of a Lifetime
By Clay Drysdale


Exams. The mere mention of the word is enough to send some people into panic mode. Sweaty palms and a racing pulse accompany long 9th grade history exams filled with essay questions on the importance of Greek and Roman culture. Most of us are glad our when school days are over and we don't have to worry about studying for another dreaded exam.

In actuality, however, our days of examinations are far from over; every day of our lives is a test. Each day that God has granted us is another day in which He gives us a choice. Will we follow Him and do the good works that He prepared in advance for us to do (Eph. 2:10), or will we live by the world's standards? Each day He gives us the option either to pass or fail. The choice is ours.

In fact, our whole life is nothing but one big final exam. Our purpose for being here on earth for a few short years is merely to prepare us for the eternity we have waiting for us. Most of us cannot fathom the eternal life we'll spend with God as believers in Christ. We'll never wake up one day and think, "Well I just have a few days left in my "eternity vacation", then it's back to work and life as usual." If we've given our lives to Christ, that's not going to happen to us.

Seventy or 80 years can seem like a very long time, especially to someone in their 20's or 30's. However, it is a blink of an eye, a mere flash in the pan when compared to eternity. We do not live on this planet, then die and move on to Heaven. We have a practice run here on Earth, go through a transition either through physical death or rapture, then go on to Heaven where we begin our real lives, which just happen to last forever. There is a Yoruba proverb that says, “The world is a journey, the afterworld is home."

This home is where we will either be rewarded or will suffer loss, based on what we've done with our time on Earth. First Corinthians 3:13-15 (NLT) tells us: “But there is going to come a time of testing at the judgment day to see what kind of work each builder has done. Everyone's work will be put through the fire to see whether or not it keeps its value. If the work survives the fire, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builders themselves will be saved, but like someone escaping through a wall of flames.”

Ultimately, as believers in Christ we’ll pass the exam – we WILL be saved. We'll all be in Heaven with Him forever. But do we want merely to pass, with perhaps the equivalent of Peppermint Patty’s perpetual "D minus"? Or do we want a strong “A” at the top of our exam, handwritten by Jesus himself with a smiley face beside it?

God is a wonderful teacher - He wants us to pass with flying colors! He gives us the freedom to work on our final exam for the rest of lives, hoping we’ll try eagerly to improve day by day. However, lest we become complacent, Jesus reminds us to “be prepared, because you don't know what day your Lord is coming” (Matt. 24:42 NLT). When that day comes and Jesus walks into the classroom to collect the exams, the final bell has rung and school is out forever.

Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight08/02/04
Ohh! Ohh! I want the smiley face! Good point.