A vision came to a man during the night as he lay sleeping. He travelled a great distance through the darkness to a place he did not know. Breaking through the darkness, he saw a building bathed in bright light and came to rest before a man standing in front of a huge door.
Upon his arrival, the man greeted him and said, “Welcome to Heaven’s Repository. I’m glad you accepted my invitation to visit with me today. I have much to share with you,” as he opened the door to a long hallway containing rows of file cabinets.
“What invitation? Who are you? Where am I? Why am I here?” questioned the confused man.
“My son, you have many questions, so allow me to answer each one. My name is Zack; I’m an angel who watches over you. This is a time in life when we review all good deeds you have done for others. We must see if you are worthy of a room in God’s house of many mansions. Consider this a status check on the life you’ve lived to this moment.”
“Zack… Zack, I don’t understand—a status check?” the man asked with a wrinkled brow.
“My son, this place contains files for every person on earth,” as he extended his arm in the direction of a long corridor lined with cabinets. “When a person’s “Good Deeds” folder contains too few entries, an alarm is sounded to alert the angels who operate the repository. It is then we invite the person to visit us for a consultation of sorts. However, I must warn you—this is the only opportunity you will have to make necessary adjustments before your days on earth are no more. I suggest you heed this warning and take appropriate actions to bring about satisfactory changes in your life. You would be wise to do so.”
“What? You mean I’m here because my Good Deeds folder has too few entries? My file set off an alarm in heaven!?! But Zack, I’ve been a good person all my life. I go to church, read the Bible, love my family, work hard, I…”
Tapping his index finger on his lips in a gesture requesting silence, Zack interrupted saying, “Enough of your declarations regarding the good things you do. Indeed, you do many good things, but they do not represent good deeds. Good deeds are things done from your heart. The ones that matter most are those performed secretly, for God’s eyes only, while not seeking praise and honor from those around you. Let us look at your folder and we shall see all your good deeds,” as he motioned for the man to follow him.
Walking past many cabinets, Zack finally stopped in front of one at the far end of the hall. The drawer marked “Ben Taylor” had a bright-red light flashing beside the name.
Ben’s heart began beating rapidly with anticipation as Zack slowly pulled the drawer open and retrieved a manila folder labelled “Good Deeds of Ben Taylor.” Zack opened the folder, removed a single sheet of paper, and placed it in Ben’s hands. He then told Ben to read the entries listed on the page.
“Zack, this page is blank—I see only my name at the top! Surely, you have more papers in the folder for me to see. Please show me all the good deeds I’ve done for others!”
“Ben, there is only one page in your folder at present; it cites all the good deeds you have done for others. Thus the reason for the alarm I mentioned to you earlier.”
Ben’s shoulders slumped as he quickly tried to remember all the good deeds he had performed. The core of his being started aching when nothing came to mind. “Zack, I see another folder in my drawer also marked ‘Good Deeds.’ That folder is very thick and appears to contain numerous papers. Surely, my good deeds appear in that folder! Zack, I don’t wish to sound rude, but I think you selected the wrong folder. Please show me the second folder.”
“My son, I will gladly show you all the papers in the second folder, but they are the deeds done FOR you and NOT BY you. Your friends, family, and strangers performed many of these good deeds for you, but most came to you from your Father in heaven. They represent all the times God blessed you and forgave you for your many sins. God loves you and His grace is more than you can ever imagine. He wants you to love and do unto others in the same way He loves and does unto you.”
Ben fell to his knees and began weeping a river of tears. Sadness filled his heart as reality shined its bright light upon his life. “The good deeds in my life came TO me from others and not from me doing good deeds FOR others,” he thought while hiding his face from Zack.
Placing his hands on Ben’s shoulders, Zack spoke softly saying, “Rise, my son. I see that you are truly sorry for your past actions—the opportunities when you failed to act. Therefore, I’ll give you a chance to change your ways if you choose to do so. Return to your world with a renewed heart and start serving your Lord the way He would have you do. Spread His love by doing good deeds for others and be a blessing to them, for if you do these things and truly believe in Him, you will have a place for all eternity in God’s house of many mansions.”
When Ben awakened the next morning, his mind was clear and his heart felt warmed by the light from above. He kneeled beside his bed and started praying aloud, “Lord, today I wish to start anew. I have many things yet to do and no time to waste. From this day forward, I will serve You. I will follow the path You have placed before me, and I will gladly help others I encounter along my journey. I will not seek praise and honor from others, only You. By Your grace, I have another chance and with Your help, I will not falter. Amen.”
What does your “Good Deeds of Your Name” folder contain? Is there more than one sheet of paper in your folder? Is the folder thick with many entries? I hope your folder already contains many pages. If not, what are your plans for the future? Do you want to make any changes? Are you going to start making changes now or wait for the alarms in heaven to summon you?
It’s all up to you. Don’t wait to receive that call for a consultation with your angel. Be blessed by helping others encountered along your journey in faith. You can start by flashing a warm smile to a stranger, offering encouraging words to someone who is down, providing aid to those who are less fortunate, and so many other opportunities too numerous to name. For each good deed you do, you have another entry placed in the “Good Deeds” folder bearing your name. Fill it up…
James 2:14-17 (NIV)
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
Tom Tatum – Author – 2015
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