What Really Matters?!

I remember a sketch on SNL from the early 80’s; I think you can still find it on YouTube, but the premise of the skit had to do with certain things happening to these people that really didn’t matter. While you would have to watch the video to get the gist, the point is that so much in this life that happens to us or that we do, doesn’t even matter.  Take fear for instance, most of what we fear in life never even happens to us; we’re just afraid that it might happen so we are fearful of it.  It’s no way to live, especially for a Christian.  A lot of things that we do, things that we say, things that we purchase for ourselves, in the long run, doesn’t even matter.  One man said it this way, ‘people spend too much time trying to impress people they don’t know with money they don’t have, in hopes of getting something, in the end, they won’t want.’  The idea of something not mattering in life is relative to the person and the situation; suffice it to say, it’s subjective. What matters to me now may not matter as much later on.  When we assess our lives, we have to ask ourselves three important questions:

  1. What matters most?
  2. What matters most to me?
  3. What is going to matter when this is all over?

What matters most is more about the greater good in a given situation.  In leadership, a good leader will do what’s best for the group they are leading, not so much for themselves.  This would imply that this good leader is selfless, and not selfish.  When we want what’s best for the greater community, company, church, family, or organization. That’s what matters most. Clearly this is NOT what we are seeing in our national leadership.

What matters most to me is more personal and subjective than it is about other people.  This is where we have to decide if what matters more to me is more important than what matters most.  This is where most people get hung up and make decisions that are not in the best interest of what matters most.  We can make excuses and try and justify our reasoning, but in the end, what matters most and what matters most to me must be defined in a proper and right manner.  What we are seeing a lot lately in our civic leadership would fall into this category.

In the end, that is, when this life is over, what really matters or mattered, either on this side of the veil or on the other side, will be revealed.  When we realize what we could have done better, that is what matters most; all of the other stuff will be laid aside.  I will tell you that what matters most, what matters most to me (you), and what really matters in the end will be if you (we) chose Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior.  That’s what will really matter.  There’s a lot of people who are burning in Hell right now that, in their life, made all kinds of personal decisions that mattered most to them.  Sadly, many more will follow them.  Apart from Jesus, it just doesn’t matter.  As believers in Jesus, the Apostle Paul addressed this issue of what matters most in the end when he described the Bema Seat Judgment that all Christians will stand at and be judged.

“But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.11 For it is written: “As I live, says the LORD, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.”                                                                                              – Romans 14:10-12

 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” . – 2 Corinthians 5:10

In both of these passages we get a glimpse of the judgment that all Christians will be given. Paul was addressing believers in this passage and therefore revealing a separate judgment that is reserved just for  them; the ‘Judgment Seat of Christ.’  These passages of scripture are referring to Christians being judged, not unbelievers. The Judgment Seat of Christ (aka Bema Seat) involves believers giving an account of their lives to Christ. This Judgment does not determine our salvation, as that was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, and our choice to place our faith in Him. The fact that we are even at the Bema Seat tells us that we are saved.

As Christians, our sins are forgiven and we will never be condemned for them as we walk with Jesus.

“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”                            – Romans 8:1

Christians should not look at the Judgment Seat of Christ as God judging our sins, because they are totally forgiven by Him.  We should see the Bema as God rewarding us for our faithfulness to Him. Believers will have to give an account of our lives, our actions, and every idle word we have spoken; but our sins are forgiven. 

“As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”                   – Psalm 103:12

The psalmist is referring to ‘one who fears the Lord,’ which is an OT type of a NT believer.

The primary focus of the Judgment Seat of Christ is for believers to receive their eternal reward and to give an account for things they did in life.  Paul the Apostle gives a most detailed description of this coming judgment:

“For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God, which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”        – 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 

We see that salvation is a given at this judgment. Our lives our built on the foundation of the Christ, and everything that we do in this life must be laid upon His foundation.  That’s what matters most. Our good works can’t save us, but they are a byproduct of a Spirit-filled life centered on God’s Word and His love for us.  Doing a good work with a right motive is a good thing.  If a believer does a good work with a wrong motive or out of a disingenuous heart, it usually doesn’t stand the ‘fire test’ that Paul was speaking of.

”…each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”      – 1 Corinthians 3:13

Jesus said, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”                – Matthew 6:19-21

Jesus wants us to consider what matters most, in the end.  He wants us to understand that this life (as temporal as it is) is a platform to His Kingdom, which is eternal.  He wants us to consider what matters most, in the end.

Jesus warned the NT Church living at the moment of the Rapture,

“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing (dissipation), drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted (have strength to) worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”                               – Luke 21:34-36

The first part of this passage deals with our proper conduct in what we should be doing and not be doing.  The idea of watching and praying always works in context to a healthy spiritual life formation.  Jesus is the One who makes us worthy of anything, beginning with our salvation.  He is the One who makes us worthy to be ‘caught up’ in the Rapture and He is the One who will judge us at the Bema Seat where we will ‘stand before the Son of Man’ and give an account of our lives.  There we will receive the rewards (aka treasure) that goes with it.  Knowing this, we have to ask ourselves, what really matters most, in the end.

‘Immediately after the Rapture, every Christian will stand before Christ to be judged by Him. This judgment has nothing to do with salvation, for only the saved will be there.’ .                     – Dr. Tim Lahaye

The Bible mentions five different crowns that believers can be given at the Bema Seat and in this blog, I thought I would briefly share what they are and how we can get them. These crowns are mentioned in scripture and they are reserved for those who are faithful to the Lord; this is what matters in the end.

1. The Incorruptible Crown – this is given to those who honored their body as the temple of the Holy Spirit.

2. The Crown of Life – this is given to those who dedicated their life to God and died for their faith.

3 The Crown of Glory – this is given to those who dedicated their life to the teaching of God’s Word.

4. The Crown of Righteousness – this is given to those who live inspired by the immanent return of Jesus.

5. The Crown of Rejoicing – this is given to those who win souls for the Lord, evangelical believers.

The Incorruptible Crown, aka “the victor’s crown is conferred upon those who ‘keep under [their] body, and bring it into subjection.”  These believers are highly disciplined and good stewards of their physical bodies. They honor it as the temple of the Holy Spirit and conduct themselves accordingly.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight, not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.”                                                – 1 Corinthians 9:24-27

The Crown of Life, aka ‘the martyr’s crown’ is conferred upon those who have suffered many injustices in life and yet endured with a sweet Christian spirit.  This crown is also rewarded to those who have been ‘faithful unto death’ as a witness for Jesus.

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”          – Revelation 2:10

The Crown of Glory, aka ‘the shepherd’s crown’ is conferred upon those who have given their lives to the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.  Many pastors throughout the New Testament era have served the Lord and His people faithfully, giving sacrificially and guiding them in their spiritual life formation.

“The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.”                                  – 1 Peter 5:1-4

The Crown of Righteousness is conferred upon those believers who are inspired by the imminent return of Jesus, and who have, as a result, lived a righteous and holy life.  The doctrine of the imminent return of Jesus has a purifying effect upon many believers.

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”                                                                                                  – 2 Timothy 4:7, 8

The Crown of Rejoicing, aka ‘the soul winners crown.’ Is conferred upon those who have devoted their life to winning people to Jesus.  This is not just for those in leadership within a local church; we are all called to share our faith in Jesus with others so that they might know and be saved.

“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20 For you are our glory and joy.” – 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20

The Judgment Seat of Christ is where believers are given rewards based on how faithfully they served the Lord. The rewards are given to a believer for their living a faith-filled, Christ-centered life.  In the end, there are two separate judgments. One for the unsaved and one for believers. Only the saved (believers) are judged at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This judgment happens at the moment of the Rapture of the Church.  A chief reason for this doctrine supports our understanding of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. This is the wedding banquet celebration that occurs just after the wedding ceremony (Rapture). The wedding happens at the Rapture and the Bema Seat occurs just after the wedding, but before the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.  We know this because we already have our crowns.  What we are doing with our crowns is equally exciting as it’s an expression of our love for and worship of the Lord.

“Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: 11 “You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created.”         – Revelation 4:9-11

This event occurs just after the Rapture, when the Church is ushered into the very throne room of God. Believers are rewarded with crowns (and other things), then they cast them before the Lord.  For a person to desire the Rapture is for them to also anticipate the Bema Seat Judgment.  The unsaved are NOT judged at the Bema Seat; they’re judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. This occurs at the end of the millennium. The concept of the Bema Seat comes from the Ancient Greek Olympics where a judge would sit on the Bema Seat (an elevated platform) at the finish line to determine what order (position) the runners finished, and then give them their appropriate rewards. It was like a tribunal stand that was elevated above the ground so the participants could be recognized and rewarded in accordance with their performance. 

Jesus said it this way, “Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.”                                – Revelation 22:12

Jesus has a reward for all of His followers.  Our love for the Lord and our faith in the Lord that was expressed in a life lived for Jesus will determine what we will be rewarded at the Bema Seat

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” .                   – Titus 2:12-14

When we ask ourselves what matters most, we really need to keep it in proper perspective with God’s Word.  People who spend all of their money on things that really don’t matter need to reassess their values.  The man who would rather make boat payments instead of sending their kid to private school has made a decision.   The person who never saves up their resources for a rainy day needs to re-prioritize.  We need to consider what really matters and what doesn’t, and make decisions that will support what really matters in the end.  Jesus matters most and with the little time that we have left, we must glorify the name of the Lord in these last moments.  The Rapture is upon us, as is the tribulation. I am amazed how fast things are spinning and how safe I feel because I am hidden in Christ.  I challenge you to consider what matters most in your life and focus on that; on Him, on Jesus. The closer we get to the tribulation, the more we will see this world reflect what the Bible has to say about this horrific time in world history that is soon to be upon this planet. 

I made a decision to follow Jesus when I was a child, I was raised in a Christian home and I studied God’s Word for myself, learning from my elders, teachers, pastors, and other Christian leaders.  When I was just out of high school I decided to accept God’s call on my life to go into full time ministry and went to Bible college to study.  Upon graduation, I got married, continued to work in a local church as a youth pastor, and matured in ministry.  There was a lot of drama, disappointments, and moves, but God was with me and in them all, guiding me and directing my path, in spite of my mistakes and short comings.  The Lord did a lot of really good things through me and Debi and blessed our family as we continued to serve Him.  My career as a pastor extended over 35 years (to date) where I gave up a lot of what really didn’t matter for what mattered most, in the end.  The Lord was faithful to provide for us all the way, to the abundance, and I am forever grateful.  I have come to realize that this life is a gift and we must use each day, each moment, for the glory of the Lord.  When we don’t, the Holy Spirit will remind us accordingly and set us back on course if we follow His lead. 

Because I see the Lord’s return for His Church to be immensely close, I have made these blogs to be a main part of my ministry outlet to share the gospel and to encourage my brothers (and sisters) in the Lord to continue to be faithful in their walk and calling. Every time I post I think, could this be the last one?  While I have managed to keep very busy in my new life here in the Midwest, I am convinced that moving here was all part of God’s greater plan for Debi and me, our family, and the precious saints at Gardena Valley Assembly (gvag.net).  I have tried to do what matters most, not so much for me, but for the Lord and those He has entrusted into my care.  In the end, most of what we do in this life just doesn’t matter; but what does matter most is what we do for the Lord.  Jesus is Who matters most, live for Him and you too will experience fulfillment in life as He guides and directs your steps with what He has for you.  This has been a wonderful experience.  Jesus is Lord!


Encouragemen is a blog written by Pastor Rob Lee, recently relocated to Southern Missouri.  He lives with his wife of 32-years, near their three adult children, their spouses, and children (their grandchildren).  Pastor Rob is an Ordained Assemblies of God minister, a former Lead Pastor (25 years), police chaplain, and community advocate.  He continues to serve, consult, and disciple men of God, including those who are in the ministry. 

One thought on “What Really Matters?!

  1. Thank you Pastor Rob for your wisdom, insight and willingness to share the truths of God’s word in what ever method is at hand. You may have thought coming to the Midwest was to be near your children, but I believe it was God’s call for such a time as this. Blessings my brother to you and your household and all that you put your hand to and everywhere your feet are led to.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: