I remember doing something when I was a youngster that kids don’t do much anymore — playing outside! If dad or mom wanted me, they’d usually just open the front door and holler down the street, “Steve!” If I was within earshot, I’d come a runnin’. When I got there I’d be informed as to why I was called home. Maybe there was a chore to do, maybe it was time to get ready for church, or maybe it was supper time! Of course, occasionally I was called home because I was in trouble; perhaps I hadn’t finished my chores, or my father wasn’t pleased with my work. For this reason, the moments between when I heard the call to come and when I came running up to the door were sometimes anxious ones.
As a father calls his children to come home, our Heavenly Father will one day call each of us home. We do not want that moment to be one of doubt, anxiety, or fear — and it doesn’t have to be.
The end of a good life is like a parent calling a child home after the child has done his chores and then spent an afternoon playing joyfully in the neighborhood. One elderly Christian whose friends and loved ones had passed on before him said that he felt that he just got to stay and play a little longer. But no matter how long we may stay, this life will end for each of us, and the Lord will call us: “For man goes to his eternal home, And the mourners go about the streets” (Ecclesiastes 12:5).
After death, there’s judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And that is the thing that can create a lot of anxiety about being called home if we are not prepared. “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).
Once, when I was in the fourth grade, I was playing with friends down at the end of the block on the street where we lived. I heard my dad calling in the distance, and, as usual, I immediately started sprinting home. It wasn’t really time for supper, so I was thinking maybe this time I was in trouble! Had I forgotten to do something I was supposed to do? My mind raced faster than my feet. I ran up the steps of the front porch to find my dad sitting there looking at the newspaper. He’d hurt his back at work recently and was in quite a bit of pain. He looked up at me and asked me to pick up the rubber band from the newspaper that he’d dropped on the ground. I was tired from running home. But I was glad. Glad to be home. Glad to do something, even though it was a small thing, to serve my dad.
If we have been happy to serve our heavenly Father here, we will be happy to be called home to serve Him there. If by His grace we have lived lives of purity and holiness here, we will be truly at home in His presence. Let us “be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace” when He calls us home (2 Peter 3:14, ESV). Let us look forward to receiving “the things done in the body” because we’ve done the good things that our Father has asked us to do.