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It Makes One’s Accounts Payable Burdensome

{Since the Heavenly Trade Is the Best Trade…

Cause for Lamentation, Repentance, and Labor

The Sad and Dangerous Effects of the Decay of Heavenly Trade

It Makes One’s Accounts Payable Burdensome}

At best, decay in heavenly trade will make the trader’s accounts payable burdensome in the day of Christ. Consider how abuse of trust put the Prodigal Steward333 in hard circumstances (Luke 16:1–3).334 He had been unfaithful in his job, wasted his master’s goods, and now was in danger of being dismissed. An accounting was demanded, and he was unable to give it. He was perplexed as to how to present his accounts and secure his future welfare. And, this will be the situation for all people who are negligent and unfaithful in their heavenly trade. Their soul will be in trouble one day as to how to answer for it to God. Whether you are first or last, God will call for an account on how His goods have been used. He has given you a stock with which to trade for Him: light, grace, personal qualities, talents, the privileges and opportunities of the Gospel, liberty, peace, and experiences with many mercies and afflictions. These are all your Lord’s goods and must be accounted for. On the giving of this account will depend your eternal state and much of your soul’s peace. This is because the Lord Jesus audits His servants in two ways: an account in this life in the court of conscience, and an account at the court of Judgment Day in His presence. Your present peace and comfort of soul depend on the first, and your eternal welfare on the last. Alas! How will you answer your conscience now when that book is opened and the Lord Jesus brings His list of so many mercies expended along with skill and ability to use them. There are debts: so much due for goods and other wares and for sermons, sacraments, graces, comforts, supports, answers to prayer, gracious providences, protection, many personal mercies, many family mercies, many bodily mercies, so many soul mercies, so many church mercies, so many national mercies, sickbed mercies, health mercies, journey mercies, habitation mercies, caring mercies, sparing mercies, giving mercies, forgiving mercies, visible mercies, invisible mercies—and you have made little or no return yet. How can the conscience stand up under such a charge or lift up its face without spot when it sees its guilt in all this and cannot answer one in a thousand of them? “Truly I know it is so, But how can a man be righteous before God? If one wished to contend with Him, He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand” (Job 9:2–3 NKJV). In the court of conscience here, God interacts via a proxy [the conscience], and possibly it only gives a general accusation. And if you cannot prevail there, what will you do in God’s court where the Lord will judge with righteous judgment and determine your eternal state depending on whether you are approved or rejected on that day? What do you think, souls? There is so much neglect of duty, decay of grace, frequent breach of covenants, and such great unfaithfulness in relationships and roles in life. There are so many days and weeks without a single bit of work for God. There is so much bad work and waste of goods. Will not all this look intently at you? And, without repentance and sealed acquittal,335 your situation at the judgment seat will be dangerous. And, if so, is it not a matter for great lamentation? Oh, lay this to heart!

333In earlier times, a steward was a man who managed the routine day-to-day affairs of a wealthy household, possibly also his master’s commercial affairs. He would handle finances and usually supervise other servants. Stewards were expected to keep detailed and accurate books to account for all transactions, but tradition was often such that the master would not examine these accounts until the steward resigned or was dismissed, in which case the steward was expected to present the accounts at that time. As these stewards managed the property and concerns of another (the master) in his best interest (in modern terms, a fiduciary responsibility), stewardship has become the name of the scriptural teaching and doctrine that all things belong to God. Thus, we ourselves, all we are, and all we possess actually belong to God, to be used for His glory and according to His commands; we are mere stewards, not owners.

334He also said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. And he called him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.” And the manager said to himself, “What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg”’” (Luke 16:1–3 ESV).

335Through saving faith in Jesus Christ alone.

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