Thousands were in attendance, but the silence of the room did not betray the massive crowd. For those who could not be packed into the room, a scad of cameras broadcast the event far and wide. Lenses captured the grandeur of the immaculate chamber which included a host of angelic servants lining the edge of the stage. The world was truly watching, but none who stepped before the King’s throne thought much of the onlookers. The focus was completely and entirely on the one who had conquered the world in a matter of minutes and now sat powerfully upon his judgment seat listening to the accounts of his subjects.
It was nearly Landon’s turn to give account. Only two others remained and then it would be his time to stand before the King. Landon was nervous and excited at the same time.
“The court calls Drake Forrester,” a powerful baritone voice rang out. indicating that the next accounting had begun. Landon watched Drake, a man he had never met, stepping from his seat to the marble underfoot. He paused in the middle of the room, standing atop the King’s gold-gilded insignia, bowed low to the floor, then arose. A deeper quiet permeated the hall as the King took a breath and began to speak.
“Hello Drake,” King Jesus said calmly. All eyes were on Drake now. Landon could see from his seat that Drake was sweating. He had a hunch that this was not going to be a good accounting.
“Good morning, my Lord,” Drake said with a quiver in his voice. Landon noticed that he was shaking where he stood. Landon glanced from Drake to the King. A lengthy knowing stare was shared between Jesus and the man who would soon give account. There was compassion written upon the face of the King, but it was mixed with iron.
“Let us begin, shall we?” The King said. Landon held his breath as the accounting got underway. He hoped for a good accounting for his fellow believer.
“My Lord, at my new birth You invested in me, generous spiritual gifts—” Drake’s words were shattered by his emotion. His features grew hard as if what he was about to say would hurt. “You allowed me thirty-seven years of mortal life, after my salvation. You gave me numerous opportunities to do good work for you.
“But I was afraid of speaking to others about you. I was afraid, so I didn’t try. Most of my life after my new birth was spent pursuing my own interests. I wasted every minute from the time I became a believer until the time of the death of my body.” With that line, Drake broke. Tears streamed from his eyes. Even Landon sniffled a little as he watched. The regret was palpable. The King let a silent moment laden with disappointment fill the court. His eyes did not leave Drake. Though, Drake could hardly bear to return the stare.
“Do you have anything to show for the investment that I placed in you?” The King asked, clearly disappointed in Drake’s report. A long breath and exhale deflated the man nearly completely. His arms seemed to dangle and his head bowed even lower.
“I have only what you have given me, my eternal life, and nothing more.” An audible gasp spread across the room. Whispers could be heard from all around. This accounting was bad indeed. Usually, there was something, a few instances of good work. Rarely had there been such a poor accounting. With those fateful words, Drake Forrester’s accounting was ended. It was now time for the righteous King to deliver his judgment.
Landon leaned back in his chair knowing that his turn would be soon. There was comfort in knowing that Drake was eternally saved but a true sadness at the opportunities that he would miss out on. He would spend the everlasting eons in the Kingdom of God with the others who had believed in Christ. His sins had been paid for by the very King who sat before him, but his mortal life after salvation had been wasted.
“Drake, You were a wicked, lazy servant,” The King said with a long sigh. “I gave you so many opportunities to excel. Yet you chose time and again to deny me, and even pretend I had not given you eternal life.” All this He said without raising his voice. It seemed painful for King Jesus to speak such words.
With the judgment, Drake began to bellow loudly. His emotions were uncontainable. He withered into a heap on the floor, bowing low on his knees with face to the ground as sobs of deep remorse echoed throughout the chamber. King Jesus continued, as Drake looked up from where he kneeled with drenched eyes.
“Take note, everyone, that Drake Forrester denied me before others, so now, in sight of my Father and the Angles, I deny him the right to reign with me in my Kingdom, I deny him a share in my glory. His portion and inheritance in this Kingdom is nothing more than his eternal salvation.”
“Thank you for your mercy, My King,” Drake cried tearfully. He rose and walked toward the exit. There was no applause.
“The court calls Mariah Levy,” the same voice said hardly letting a pause pass. Landon felt his body tense as he realized he would be next. The woman who sat next to him rose to her feet and glided gracefully to the center of the room. Landon has shared a few kind words with her on his arrival, but there didn’t seem to be anything out of the ordinary about her. She wore a pleasant enough smile and took a respectful posture. Her demeanor was entirely different from the former one who stood the accounting. She waited confidently, but without a single tinge of pride.
“Mariah, I’ve been looking forward to this,” The King said as if to an old friend. The room seemed to hum with a warm amber light. Mariah inclined her head slightly as a loving grin tugged at the corner of her mouth.
“It’s an honor to stand before you My King,” She said as she knelt into a picturesque curtsy. She crossed her arms over her chest as one knee kissed the marble floor below. She rose once again.
“Let us begin,” The King said with a look of enjoyment written with his excited posture.
“Yes, My Lord. At my new birth, you invested in me generous spiritual gifts. I used the skills of service and administration which you vested in me to further your work in the world. Most of my time was spent doing paperwork for missionaries abroad. I often thought I was making no difference at all, but I continued in hopes of pleasing you. Until I arrived here I did not know the impact my service had.” She said as a tear crested the corner of her eye. Unlike the last, this was no tear of remorse, but one of pure joy.
“What return on my investment have you produced?” The King asked.
“You know Lord, that no less than 49,336 souls are in your kingdom because of the work you allowed your servant to do. Many of which are faithful disciples themselves.”
The room first gasped and then erupted in applause. Landon was swept up in the celebration as a standing ovation followed. Even the King was on his feet now. His hands thundered together with the crowd as he descended the steps before his throne. King Jesus stepped to Mariah Levy and wrapped his arms around her as she returned the embrace.
After a moment’s hug, he pulled back and said something privately to her, and handed her something that the crowd could not see. He spoke to her quietly for a few seconds as she nodded. He then produced a crown and placed it upon her head. The crowd cheered even more. The crown was not as splendid as the King’s own, but it shone more brightly than any given in any of the accountings that Landon had seen.
“This is my faithful servant and friend,” King Jesus said as he turned to the audience. “She was obedient in every small task I gave her,” he said smiling. “Even paperwork.” At that everyone laughed joyously. He turned to her and placed his hand upon her shoulder.
“Because of her great faithfulness in small things, I name you chancellor of the Continent of the Americas. Rule them well, my good and faithful servant.”
Once more she bowed low before her Lord. One more hug was shared between Mariah and the King. He turned to climb back to his throne as she spun toward the exit. The cheers were deafening as she walked from the room. Landon had not expected a chief royalty position to be awarded right before his own accounting. He celebrated for her in his heart, though he was quite sure his own accounting would not be nearly so glorious.
“The Court calls Landon Sanders” The angelic voice called. Finally, it was his turn. He stood and began toward the center of the room. All eyes were on him. He paused at the center of the floor. His heart was beating fast. He was face to face with his savior and King. He was both filled with excitement and anxiety. It was an intoxicating feeling. In this moment, he wanted nothing more than to please his King.
“Welcome Landon,” The King said with a warm tone.
“Thank you, My King,” Landon replied as he bowed his head low.
“Let us begin,” The Lord of the Kingdom said now training his full attention on Landon. Something happened at once. Landon had been told of the quickening but had no way of preparing for it in advance. Nor did he have any clue of the feelings it would shake loose. He felt as if his spirit was pulled from his body.
In an instant, he could see his entire life. It was not like seeing an image or even a sequence, but instead, every moment of his 78-year existence was superimposed on top of one another. He could see his life, not as a timeline of events but as a whole. It was a mass of light and wonder. He stared at the ball of illumination realizing for the first time how fantastic a gift, his life was. For that matter, any life, even one lasting only seconds was a thing of infinite worth. He stared intently at the ball of light that represented his achievements done while he was in his body, both good and bad.
He had been born again when he was sixteen. He remembered the night fondly. The piano, which was always a little out of tune, played as the preaching called for the congregation to consider the promise of eternal life. At the moment of his saving faith the light shined bright in him. He was given the gift of evangelism and teaching by the King. It wasn’t long before the excitement began to fade. The concerns of his fast-paced life surrounded him almost at once.
He scarcely used his spiritual gifts for the following decade until he had children. His children softened his heart but mostly raising them scared him. His fear drove him and his family back to the church where be began to grow. When he was nearly thirty he began to teach a small Bible study. He was nervous at first but came to love his discussions with the small group of men he taught.
Despite his efforts, He spent the rest of his life going through phases of varying devotion to Christ. He was never as committed, obedient, or consistent as he would have liked.
He was so immersed it took him a moment to realize that he was not alone in his own mind. He sensed the presence of his King even there. Without words, they both looked at his life together. Landon lamented at the places of unfaithfulness and reveled in those times when he had drawn near to his creator. He felt Jesus’ warm agreement with that assessment as well.
Suddenly a white-hot light flashed in Landon’s mind. Frightening at first, Landon reeled only to find that the blast of light was subsiding. Still not alone, Landon watched Christ as he set the heated glare like a blaze to Landon’s life. Landon did not understand at first, but as he watched it became clear. The King was burning all the unfaithful acts, the disobedience, and the unworthy deeds.
The moments of unfaithfulness began to wither and disintegrate in the flame that Jesus had set in his mind. Landon was happy to see the landscape change. The burden; the memories; the guilt; they were burned up with the scorching heat of Christ’s presence. Though, not all was burned away.
A twinkle in the dying fire remained. It was hard to see at first but as his eyes adjusted in the changing light he could see that some good had remained. Landon was left with an assortment of shining golden images which had withstood the flame. Each image represented acts of obedience and faithfulness. More beautiful still stood the images of those who had come to belief and faithfulness because of Landon’s work. As he looked at the final results of his life he knew, these were what he would be rewarded for.
Suddenly, the scene in his mind was pushed away, and Landon was once again standing alone before the King in his royal court. The entire experience had taken no time at all, or if it had it was an infinitesimally small fraction of a second. Though it was short in time, it had an eternal effect that Landon could already feel. He knew it was time for him to give account aloud. He understood now what he was to say.
“My Lord, at my new birth you invested in me generous spiritual gifts, among them evangelism and teaching. With these gifts, I could have been more faithful. I wasted years of my life in selfish pursuits. However, in my later years, I became more obedient and worked for you more faithfully than in my former years.”
“What return do you have to show for my investment?” The King asked.
“Four souls are here in glory as a result of the work you gave me to complete, and thirteen more will be rewarded for their faithfulness because of the work you gave me to do on Earth,” Landon said. There was a wash of joy in the utterance. He knew in that moment that he could have been more faithful, but he was pleased with the work he had to show. He was pleased because the King was pleased.
Although the applause was not as uproarious as Mariah Levy’s and not so silent as Drake Forrester’s, there was a healthy amount of cheering. The King rose from his throne and stepped toward Landon. His pulse ran high and his muscles tensed. He was exhilarated to be this near the King. Jesus stretched out his hand. They shook hands as the King placed his other palm on his shoulder.
“Well done Landon. You had some rough years, but you finished strong. I’m proud of you,” the King said where only Landon could hear it. He could have melted in a pile. To hear that the King, who always spoke truth, was proud of him would be something he would celebrate throughout eternity. The King continued, “I’m excited to work with you, we have some great years ahead of us.” As he said this, he produced a modest crown and placed it upon Landon’s head. He placed a white stone in his palm with a new name written on it. King Jesus then whispered Landon’s new name into his ear. He could not breathe at the exhilaration.
King Jesus stepped beside him. Addressing the crowd with a powerful voice the King said, “Because of his faithfulness, I’m appointing Landon Mayor of Woodville.”
Landon bowed his head once more and stepped toward the Exit. The applause continued as he walked through the gold gilded doors and into his new assignment.