“How will the Church be judged?”

What is ‘success’ in the eyes of Jesus?  What will He be most concerned about on that last great, and final day of judgment?

“Will it be how large and impressive our buildings and ‘campuses’ were?  How many ‘programs’ and ‘ministries’ we created?  How hip and cool our music was, or our drama skits?  How much gold, silver, and technology we adorned our sanctuaries with?  How many “members” we had on our member roster (including those who never show up)?”

“How big our budget was?  How many book deals our pastor received; or how many people read his blog or downloaded his sermons and podcasts?”

So how will Jesus determine the effectiveness and faithfulness of His Body, the Church on earth?  St. Matthew, apostle of Jesus records it like this in the 25th chapter of his Gospel…

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?  When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?  Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them,

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’

“Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’

‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

A wise, now departed sister, a nun, a school sister of Notre Dame, my former teacher, once said to me as I explained to her how impressively ‘busy‘ I was in building ‘the church’ I was called to at the time; she said to me finally – after I stopped my litany of tasks and programs – when finally I said, ‘I’m busy, very busy  – and tired…”

She said to me, “Yes, Mike, the Church today is busy.” 

And then came a pregnant pause which seemed to last forever, and she continued with her soft, and prophetic voice…

 “But, I’m not so sure She is always busy with the right things.”


‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you fed, clothed, sheltered and cared for one of the…

least of these, My brethren, you did it to Me.’

In the end, if our Orthodoxy (belief) is not displayed daily in our Orthopraxy (actions) then we have failed miserably in understanding what the Church is, and who we are called to be.



2 thoughts on ““How will the Church be judged?”

  1. After reading this I had to go back and read Revelation 3 again. I hope that I’m in this group!

    Rev 3:21To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.

    2 Peter 1:10

    10Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

    • Dear Alton,

      I too struggle, as I know that I fail miserably at living the fullness of our calling in Christ. Thankfully we have a merciful Lord, who loves us in spite of our best and worst efforts. Lately I been confronted with the reality of poverty, the poor and the homeless in my home state of Michigan. They call it the new poverty, “suburban poverty”, because so many are without work now, including white collar jobs. And yet, for some who have work (like me) we forget that thousands are hungry and needy and our government is not the answer – the church is.

      In the end, the two greatest commands remain, “Love God, Love each other”, and who is the ‘other’? My brother, my sister, — everyone I met. I pray that our churches, leaders, and members realize that our greatest work, happens when we live the Gospel in every moment of everyday; being an Icon of grace in a world of hurt.

      Thanks for reading Alton – and pray for me, as I will for you, that together we are the ‘overcomers’ of Revelation 3.

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