Summary: This is a message I preached at the County Fair Vesper Service.

We All Will Stand In Judgment

2 Corinthians 5:8-10

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

9Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

10For 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.

Thomas was a chicken farmer

who sold fertilized egg to a hatchery.

In his farmyard, Thomas had 100 young pullets to lay the eggs.

To fertilize the eggs Thomas had 12 roosters.

Thomas kept careful records on each rooster's performance.

Any rooster that didn't perform went straight into the frying pan.

Thomas had a unique method to determine a rooster's efficiency.

He bought 12 tiny bells and attached one to each of his roosters.

Each bell had a different ring tone

so Thomas could tell which rooster was performing.

Thomas would sit in a rocking chair on his porch

and check the boxes on his efficiency report

simply by listening to the bells.

His favorite rooster was a Rhode Island Red he called Earl.

On one particular morning Thomas noticed Earl's bell hadn't rung!

So he went to investigate.

The other roosters were chasing pullets, their bells-a-ringing,

and the pullets trying to run away.

But Earl had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring.

Earl would sneak up on a pullet, do his job

and walk on to the next one.

Thomas decided to enter Earl in the County Fair.

He told the poultry judges how smart Earl was.

He described how Earl did his job.

The judges didn't give Earl a Blue Ribbon,

but they awarded him the No Bell Piece Prize

and the Pulletsurprise!

The Edwards County Fair is underway

I appreciate all of the hard work and effort

that goes into preparing for the livestock judging.

My boys Tony & Tim used to show hogs at this fair.

So I want to congratulate all who have put in the work

with their animals and projects to get them ready for the fair.

Getting those cows, hogs, chickens, etc. ready for the fair

didn't just happen overnight.

Think of what was needed.

First there was "Time" with the animals

feeding, washing and grooming the animals.

There was "Patience" required to teach them to lead,

hold their heads up and pose correctly.

Money was needed to purchase the animal,

the equipment, the supplies and the feed.

If you have a non-livestock project for the Floral Hall

you had to "Plan Ahead" to obtain all of the necessary materials

or to grow the item or create the perfect project.

You had to use "Time Management" skills

to make sure everything was ready on time.

So I want us to think today about our preparations

if we are serious about claiming a life in heaven with the Lord.

Our Fair projects are important,

but they will come and go.

So now as the Fair is ready to launch full speed ahead,

we take a few moments together to put first things first --

to remember our chief priority.

The projects we enter in the Fair will hopefully please the judges.

The work we do throughout our lives is for the Lord

Colossians3:23-24 says,

23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

So what does this means?

While many people have prepared their fair entries

to please the judges and receive a blue ribbon,

what we should really be striving for is the reward of the Lord.

Many people will enter fair projects

and they won't get the blue ribbon.

Those who don't get First Prize might go home disappointed!

If at the end of our lives Jesus says, "Well done,"

it doesn't matter what the rest of the world says.

So if we don't receive the blue ribbon we desire from judges

it really is OK if we have given our best effort.

All of us need to see the value and nature of the work we do.

We are supposed to be working for the Lord.

That should be the purpose of everything we do.

On a day such as the start of the Edwards County Fair,

we see that Jesus can use it to point to

what He is continuing to do through us

to prepare us for the Biggest Show that He is planning for us --

to redeem us and bring us to completion

and wrap His loving arms around us in eternity!

If we were as focused on serving the Lord

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