If I mentioned the “Miracle on Ice,” most would know I’m referring to the incredible 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Jim Craig was the phenomenal goalie on a squad that shocked the world. The American flag draped around his shoulders along with the prized gold medal were inseparable from this iconic sports hero for thirty-six years. He planned to auction them last year; reportedly for 5.7 million dollars. Yet plans changed and he will apparently auction some of his paraphernalia, but not all of it.
Regardless, I’m not criticizing Craig. I have basketballs signed by the 1976 & 1979 L.A. Lakers. Each has a market value of about $700, so they are on display in my office. But I’m pretty sure if they were valued at $1 million or more, they would be auctioned. Imagine what I could do for the kingdom of heaven with the proceeds? That has far more value to me than a piece of leather with a collection of signatures.
While we do not receive gold medals in heaven, the Bible refers to five different crowns.
Incorruptible Crown/Wreath/Prize (1 Corinthians 9:25) – Received for running the good race that God sets before us.
Crown of Rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2:19) – Received for sharing the gospel with others.
Crown of Righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8) – Received by those who fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith.
Crown of Life (James 1:12/Revelation 2:10) – Received for being faithful unto death.
Crown of Glory (1 Peter 5:4) – Received for shepherding the flock of believers.
Earthly treasure will pale in comparison to these heavenly rewards! But wait. Even they will quickly become secondary to what really matters—worship of our incredible God.
“They (the 24 elders in John’s vision interpreted to be the 12 tribes of Israel and the 12 disciples of Christ) cast their crowns before the throne, saying, ‘Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created’” (Revelation 4:10b-11).
If these iconic saints cast their crowns before the throne of God, I believe it is safe to say all those who receive them will do the same. I believe it is a level of worship that is nearly impossible to visualize or comprehend, yet something that will take our breath away. While Scripture refers to Jesus as the embodiment of God, Paul also describes the “King of kings and Lord of lords as dwelling in unapproachable light” (1 Timothy 6:16).
Imagine it this way. When Jim Craig and the rest of the hockey team stood on the gold medal platform, it was to judge their performance. They were not condemned for errors made during the tournament, but rewarded with a gold medal. Now visualize the team being so completely awed by the presenter of the medals, that they cast them back in reverence and worship!
That is what will occur in heaven. Christ followers will one day stand before the “judgment seat.” Perhaps you’ve heard it referred to by the Greek word—Bema. We will not be condemned for our sin, but receive crown(s) for the things we’ve done on earth. We’ll be in such a state of indescribable awe that we’ll cast our crowns before the throne in worship.
If you have surrendered your life to Christ, you’ve already passed out of death into life (John 5:24) and you’ll be there! And now you know why the band, Casting Crowns is so named!
#castingcrowns #bemaseat #judgmentseat