I related last week how my brother, Chris, told our son, Ron, a story about me. Chris told how I disobeyed our dad by buying fireworks and setting them off along the run that ran along our property line.
Chris had threatened to tell Dad on me if I did not let him set off a fire cracker. Chris had me over the barrel. If Dad would have found out, I would have been toast. So, according to Chris I relented.
Ron enjoyed the uncle’s account about me, but I told Ron that it did not happen. I had no memory whatsoever about Chris’ tale.
Chris is in the hospital, and I drove to Martinsburg, W.Va., last week to visit with him. Our youngest brother, Jeff, who lives nearby, was also there to visit. Wouldn’t you know it, the fire cracker story came up. Chris snickered in that he had told his nephew — my son — the account. Once again, I averred that it never happened because I had no memory of it whatsoever.
But, then Jeff chimed in, “Gracious, Ronnie! Don’t you remember that? I remember it vividly because I had come with Chris down to where you were trying to hide behind that sycamore tree. I never saw Chris run so fast after he lit that fuse on the short and that cracker nearly went off in your hand. What would you have done if you would have caught him?”
I could not answer the question because I still did not remember any part of the account. But, admittedly, on the basis of Jeff’s verification, it must be true. One person who read the account last week e-mailed me asking if my nose had grown any longer because of my insistence that I do not remember doing such a thing.
But, what this does is to put into biting perspective the day I stand before the Lord and have to give account of myself before Him. He will judge me according to my works. I can just imagine, however, the Lord bringing up things I did that I should not have done or things I should have done that I did not do with me trying to convince Him that I do not remember anything about it. It will not wash, I am sure.
The Scripture reminds us that each of us will stand before the Lord to be judged. “For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be bad.” Furthermore, “Every man’s work shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it …”
The day the Lord judges us for our works will not be an easy experience, because the Lord in responsible and righteous manner will set matters straight. Judgment day is not something to laugh about or to take lightly. It is a day by which we should measure what we do today. As the Scripture, therefore, points out, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”
In the meantime, I still do not remember anything about that particular fire cracker episode. But, just in case: “Lord, I ask that you forgive me for disobeying my father.” After all, the Lord will probably verify that it is true, too. He knows everything anyway. Dad probably knows about it, too.
Daggone, everybody knows it is true except for me.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.