I once read a quote from A.W. Tozer that continues to both propel and haunt me. Tozer said, “Before the judgment seat of Christ my service will be judged not by how much I have done but by how much I could have done!” I mentioned this quote before (see “Living for the Emergency”), but wanted to dive a little deeper into it because it won’t stop gnawing at me. Each of us has been uniquely created with a combination of talents, skills, gifts, and passions. We have been designed with specific work in mind (Ephesians 2:10). We will choose to obey God and carry out the job He has given us to do, or we will reject Him and squander all He has blessed us with on our own selfish desires.
For most of us, we live somewhere in the middle of those two extremes. At least that’s how we rationalize it to ourselves. We do some good for God, but stop well short of utilizing our gifts to their fullest extent. In so doing, we leave the work God has given us undone. We let Him down; we let fellow believers down. Simply put, we don’t come through. We don’t hold up our end of the bargain. God promises us an abundant and eternal life, and all He asks in exchange is that we love Him. If we love Him, we will desperately want to do everything He has laid out for us to do.
Our own selfishness robs us of an incredible communion with our Creator. Too many are content with doing a little, convinced that it will be enough to get them into Heaven. Perhaps it will be just that. But why would any of us want to face Jesus and proclaim, “See, Lord, I did just enough to get by. You gave me gifts beyond measure, but I decided I would use them to do only the bare minimum. See how much I love you?” As Tozer pointed out, we should be far more concerned about what we could have done rather than be proud about that which we have done.
I believe we could all do more. When it comes to obeying God, 90% isn’t going to get it done. He demands all of our life. If you are a follower of Jesus there was a time where you surrendered exactly that to Him. Somewhere along the way we have believed the lie that using some of our gifts, some of the time, is pleasing to God.
Each of us was created to serve God and to utilize that which He has given us to further His mission. Are we so lazy and self-indulgent that we are content with giving God a half-hearted effort so we can get back to our own pursuits? Jesus said that much would be expected from those to whom He had given much (Luke 12:48). That means you and me, because we have all been uniquely blessed and gifted in incredible ways. How much more could you be doing for Jesus today? How could you more fully use your gifts to glorify Him?