With respect to what we’re supposed to do and not do, the judgment of man is completely opposite that of God.
Let me explain.
The bible is full of do’s and don’ts. Honor your parents, don’t covet, pay your taxes, don’t kill, accept Christ as Lord and Savior, and on and on.
It’s what can be referred to as absolutes. Absolutes cross eras and cultures. It’s the same anytime and anywhere. If nothing more, it’s consistent.
On the other hand, the world is far more lenient.
Man doesn’t like absolutes and this has led to relativism. Relativism allows anything, which is now or historically affirmed by anyone, anywhere. Of course, you can’t do something if it hurts someone, but there are even exceptions to that.
So while God strickly defines our actions, men provide a lot more leeway.
We end up with somewhat of a squishy sense of justice, but certainly a flexible one.
This ambivalence is not the same on all of man’s judgments, however.
Clearly, the fastest runner wins the 50-yard dash – even if everyone in junior sports gets participation awards. (A sign of relativism expanding.)
The richest businessman and the most powerful politician is given all the honor. The biggest donor in some churches sit in the front seats and have their names inscribed on the pipe organs. Man clearly and absolutely determines what success is.
The pillars are absolute, not relative and certainly not squishy.
But God is completely different when it comes to these types of judgment.
God judges what is done, relative to what abilities were available to perform.
Not absolutes, but relativism albeit on a perfect level.
No man would laud a gift of a penny. They would, however, if the gift were a million dollars. In fact, those people would have their names on the church benches, and maybe even a fellowship hall named in their honor.
But God doesn’t judge this way.
Look at how God judges a gift of 2 mites vs. a much more sizeable charitable gift.
Luke 21:1-4 “And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury,and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.
But this perfect judgment is a double-edged sword as Luke states:
Luke 12:48 “…From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.”
I see this judgment mismatch often arise with respect to evangelism. Now, understand, we’re not talking about salvation. Salvation, for believers, is settled. I’m addressing God’s “well done good and faithful service” and our desire to please the Lord and do His will.
So if some talented evangelist is sharing the gospel and thousands are coming to the Lord as a result, how are my measly numbers by comparison?
But, you see, that’s the point.
Man’s judgment would compare simple numbers – thousands vs. a few.
But God judges perfectly and He’s looking at performance relative to abilities and opportunities.
To that degree, one’s performance of thousands brought to accepting the gospel may be less than the abilities and opportunities which are actually given to that person. Conversely, the few results of another may be equal to or in excess of that person’s abilities and opportunities.
Simply, God judges perfectly – results relative to abilities. Only God can judge this way, but we also have a responsibility.
Well done good and faithful servant should be our desire based on God’s perfect judgment, not man’s imperfect judgment. Outward results may actually be stubble which is burned up.