AE vol. 44, no. 10, Oct 1987
I remember my first encounter with the world of accounts, accountants and accountability. It was in my first job, more years ago then I care to remember. I was given a blue pen and a red one and informed that I could use those two colours but must never use a green pen.
This, I thought, was unfortunate be¬cause green ink had just come out and I like using it. So I compromised and mixed brilliant blue with the green and con¬cocted a turquoise colour. Alas, this still got me into trouble as there was just too much green in it and only (great emphasis — only, only) accountants could use green pens!
Young and inexperienced, I quickly learned the letter of the law. Once a year, I was informed, the accountants would come in and with their green pens rule off the last entries for the trading year. Not even one more entry could be made, either to add sales, to credit or make correct¬ions. It was too late! Now the books would be checked and those who had made the entries for the year would have to give an account of matters.
And, sure enough, at the end of the commercial year in came the accountants with their little cases, green pens, suspi¬cious looks and multitudes of queries. Much later I would learn that accountants aren't really bad folk and that auditing is a necessary part of life. What was most impressed upon this young innocent was the fact of the importance of account¬ability.
Ultimately we are all always account¬able to someone, whether in the business world, church organisation or family life. The great parable of Matt. 25 reminds us plainly that in the final analysis we will all stand before the Master when He returns to His servants to settle accounts with them (v. 19) and is looking for a return of His investment and trust (v.27).
That is going to be an exciting day (or night) when Jesus returns unexpectedly, and so the age old cry still goes forth: Are we ready? If you're a Christian then of course you are in respect of your own salvation. But what about your service? A 'heavenly green pen' will immediately rule off the records in the book of your life to that point and it will be too late to try to gain extra time so that you can do more
for Jesus or make adjustments in your life, temperament, ministry, relationships, habits and so on.
Too late — the books are closed! A sobering thought indeed. Jesus said in John 9:4 that 'As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Might is coming when no one can work.'
What works have we been neglecting that need to be operating within our churches and personal lives today? What matters are there that ought to be receiv¬ing our attention now, that we will regret we didn't attend to if the Lord were to suddenly return unexpectedly?
In this issue Reg Klimionok challenges us in respect of reaching out to the neg¬lected modern day leper, the AIDS victim, Andrew Evans urges us to move in our Christ-given power against evil spiritual forces in the land, Lyle Peluso warns on modern day witchcraft, David Cartledge reminds us of the necessity of understand¬ing, meditating on and confessing God's Word, Christopher Jeyaratnam's miracle testimony encourages us to persevere in prayer whatever the circumstances.. . all matters that need our daily attention as we would serve Jesus.
There are also other matters such as the question of holiness which has already been highlighted several times this year in this editorial page and elsewhere. Some are still concerned that whilst we have moved from the binding, legalistic letter of the law, we may be displaying just too much and too irreverant a freedom in the Spirit.
Then there is the concern over the recent shakings in the church in America
and elsewhere, the exposure of 'hi-tech' suspect words of knowledge and fake mir¬acles, financial and administration abuse and incompetency, regrettable immoral lapses, incredible visions and schemes from God so-called, the continuing ex¬tremes of the prosperity, healing and 'Kingdom Now' teachings, presumption instead of faith, and failure of Christian ethics.
In the above mentioned parable Jesus spoke of the servants receiving talents to be used immediately and wisely in the Master's service. What talents, abilities and spiritual gifts has Jesus granted you? Are you using them wisely and increasing their effectiveness? Does your lifestyle, habits, language and actions reveal you as a genuine servant of God? Are you, per¬haps, like the 'useless' servant who buried all and did nothing for his Master and received the severest of rebukes? Are you into anything unethical or doctrinally suspect that harms our witness to the world? I hope not, even as 1 trust in God that I would never be.
Let us all be active in Christ's kingdom. Let there be many great blue entries in the record books of our lives that will speak well of our wholehearted, genuine service for Jesus. His blood — His 'red pen' — has already erased our mistakes and sins; may His 'green pen' never have to be ruled across pages empty of entries of our deeds. May we all we able to give a good account of ourselves before the throne of grace.
Have a great month, reconsidering the 'accounts of life'.