Summary: Easter is all about "accounting". When most people think about going to heaven, they count their good deeds... but God doesn't do it that way. How do we prepare ourselves for standing before the one to Whom we must give an accounting?
OPEN: There’s been a story in the news recently about the US Dept. of Housing and Urban Development, otherwise known as HUD. Apparently HUD has had a problem balancing their books. It seems their books were off about (PAUSE) $516 BILLION dollars. Now that’s not an error of a few 100,000 dollars… or a few 100 million dollars. That’s an accounting error of several HUNDRED BILLION dollars!!!
Now, the question is… how did this happen? How does a government agency misplace $516 billion? Well, the article I read on this said: “Some of the errors were caused by HUD rounding dollar amounts to the nearest ‘billion,’ when financial guidance calls for rounding to the nearest ‘million.’”
Well that explains everything!!! If they’d just rounded to the nearest MILLION rather than the nearest BILLION, everything would have been OK! What I find more disturbing – that the government misplaced $516 billion… or that they are comfortable rounding things off to the nearest million. You know, if I could round to the nearest million I could afford all kinds of things… at least for a while.
APPLY: Now you might ask: "Jeff why are you talking about accounting on Easter?" (I wait until someone asks me that question). Well I’m glad you asked that question. I’m talking about accounting today, because Easter is all about accounting.
Romans 14:12 says “… every one of us shall give ACCOUNT of himself to God.”
And Hebrews 4:13 declares “Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give ACCOUNT.”
In other words – the day will come when you and I will stand before the judgment seat of God and God will open up the books and we’ll have to account for how we’ve lived on earth.
ILLUS: When I was younger, I went to Purdue University for a couple of years, and while I was there, I took a semester of accounting. I learned just enough about accounting to know that you don’t want me balancing your checkbook. I think I maybe got a "C" - because I never could master the concepts well enough to do any better. But I do remember that accounting is merely the art of “counting”. That’s why it’s called “AC-COUNTING”.
The idea is that you count your INCOME on one side of the ledger, and you count the money you SPEND and the money you HAVE LEFT OVER on the other. If both sides of the ledger are equal… they say your books “BALANCE”, because there’s as much money on one side as on the other.
Now, what’s that have to do with Easter? Well, when people think about standing before God, they tend to think in terms of balancing their books. They realize they’ve done so many bad things in life - and so they try to balance the books by doing as many “good things” as they can.
ILLUS: Years ago, there was a CEO of General Electric by the name of Jack Welch. Dan Rather had him on 60 Minutes (TV News magazine) and asked Welch, “What’s the toughest question you have ever been asked?”
Welch thought for a moment and then responded, “The toughest question I’ve ever been asked is ‘Do you think you’ll go to heaven?’”
“How did you answer that question?” Rather asked.
Welch replied, “It’s a long answer, but I said that if caring about people, if giving it your all, if being a great friend counts – despite the fact that I’ve been divorced a couple of times, and no one’s proud of that. I haven’t done everything right all the time. I think I got a shot. But I’m in no hurry to get there and to find out any time soon.”
Welch acknowledged that he’d messed up many times in his life. But let me repeat what he said: “If caring about people, if giving it your all, if being a great friend COUNTS… I think I got a shot.”
Do you see what he’s saying? He’s keeping score. On one side of the ledger he acknowledges he’s messed up in life. But on the other side of the ledger he’s hoping he’s done enough that will COUNT and balance out his books before the eyes of Him to whom he’ll have to give an ACCOUNT.”
Now that’s a nice thought… but there’s a couple of problems with that kind of thinking. 1st – (did you notice?) he’s not sure he’ll go to heaven. Most people – when you ask if they think they’re going to heaven say “I HOPE SO”. What they mean by that is that they don’t know if they’ve DONE enough to get into heaven. And apparently, neither did Welch: “I’m in no hurry to get there and to find out any time soon.”