My co-worker Dave and I are both avid readers that enjoy exchanging book recommendations. One day, he stopped by my desk and said “I have another book for you to read. It’s called The Bema.” Unfamiliar with the term I asked, "What's the bema?"
"The judgment seat of Christ for all Christians. The bema doesn't determine salvation. Rather it reveals that the way we conduct ourselves daily defines how we experience eternity," he said.
The bema, I repeated in my head. Growing up in the church, the "bema" was not a common sermon topic I remember hearing. Intrigued, I borrowed the book from Dave and finished it within two days. I couldn't put it down.
Written by Tim Stevenson, The Bema is a fictional story based on scripture about businessman Daniel Mathiewson. In heaven after the rapture, Daniel gathers with millions of believers at a stadium-like amphitheater to witness and participate in the bema. Each believer is called one-at-a-time to face Jesus for his or her own judgment. During Daniel's judgment, Jesus sifts through his life and highlights how much one person can make an impact in another's life, whether good or bad. He reveals how mistakes Daniel made has not only affected his life, but also the lives of others. Yet, as Daniel experiences the judgment, he is not afraid. Jesus showers him with overwhelming love and forgiveness. He speaks truth with no condemnation to Daniel. 1 John 4:18 (NIV) writes, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
The Bema was one of those few books that truly made me think differently about how I live my life. The book talks about how human decisions affect many others besides ourselves. It has given me more urgency to steward the gifts I've been given and intentionally invest more in others.