Summary: As we near the end of the year, let us take inventory. We have to give an account of ourselves, our time, our money and our talents. Now is the time to find the soundness of our standing before God. Let us check up before we are called to check out.
AFTER CHRISTMAS COMES INVENTORY
Scripture: Romans 14
Text: Romans 1:12 “So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God
Christmas has come and gone. The curtain is about to fall on . It has been great year for some of us, a year filled with new experiences and surprises. In business circles, the end of the year is the time for inventory to see whether there has been profit or loss. The end of the year is also a time for inventory of SPIRITUAL matters. Inventories reveal strength or weakness. Inventories reveal one’s present fitness for meeting the demands of the future. In spiritual matters, how do we stand with ourselves? How do we stand with others? How do we stand with God?
I. Now is the time for an inward look
On the inside of the door of a hotel room, one may see the sign, “STOP - have you forgotten anything?” The sign is saying “Check up before you check out”. Paul tells us in Romans 14:12, “So then everyone of us shall give account of himself to God”. Now is the time to check up before God calls us to check out. We are facing a new year. Since this time last year, we have used 36 days or 8,664 hours or 519,840 minutes. That is a lot of time. Ignatius, hearing a clock strike, said, “Now I have one more hour to answer for”. In we will have had over 8,664 hours to account for. What have we done with all that time? In Colossoans 4:5, Paul tells us to redeem or buy up the time for Christian service. How much of that time did God get?
Have you found it too busy to pray each morning that God will keep you from evil and use your talents in behalf of others? Did you have time to thank God in the evening for his answers to your prayers of the morning? Did you fellowship with the Lord through prayer and Bible study each day? Did you take time to be pleasant, polite, courteous and patient at home and away? Did you have time to smile? Was there time to say THANK YOU? Were you thoughtful about the need for others? Did you take time to play the part of a friend? Did you
take time to live like a Christian? Did you take time to point someone to Christ? We much all give account for the way we used our time.
B. What Did we do with our income during ?
Of the 38 parables that Jesus spoke, 12 concerned money. He probed the consciences of people as to how they got their money, how they spent their money, how they used their money and what their money did to them and for them. According to Paul in Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” The love of money sent the prodigal son to the far county to waste his possessions in riotous living. The love of money kept the young ruler from following Christ. We must give account of our money. What was the level of our giving n ? Did we get above the tip level, or did we reach it? How about the entertainment level? Some people only give when they go. Do you limit your giving to those times when you are emotionally stirred? Do you make pledges and forget to pay them? Are you a thither? A wealthy old man habitually gave a penny a Sunday to the church. It was the custom for the elders to receive the offering as the people entered the church. One Sunday, the man of wealth put in a gold coin by mistake. Discovering his mistake, he hurried back to the elders and wanted to exchange a copper coin for it. The elders said, “You may put in what you like but you can’t take anything out”. After quite a heated debate, the rich miser gave up and said, “Oh, well, I suppose I’ll get credit for it in heaven”. But the elder replied, “You’ll only get
credit for the penny, for that is what you meant to put in”. God judges the giving heart behind the giving hand. Everyman has his purposes in his heart”, and this man had a penny purpose. God requires that his stewards BE FAITHFUL. How did you rate in ? Better check up before you check out!
C. What use did you make of your abilities in ?
Did you bury them? Did you hide them? Did you use them? If our inward look this morning has been discouraging, we need to take:
II. An Upward Look
A. The Psalmist said, “I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help”. Out of our disappointments and despairs, let us not look just to the hills but to the one who made the hills; to the one who gives us the right to begin again.