In that day, all the sacrifices you made will be in the past. Your patient trust in the Lord will have reaped its consequence. All the service of your life, as well as all your opportunities, will then be behind you. You will appear before the Lord Jesus Christ, and your entire Christian life will be manifested, sifted, and evaluated.
Once the flames dwindle and the smoke clears, remaining in the nail-pierced hand of our risen and glorified Lord will be a record. It will be a careful and accurate reflection of all that you have done for Him. He will not have overlooked the slightest facet of your service, He will not have missed one tear that fell, and nothing that you have done or experienced for Him will go unrewarded in that day.
“For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know Whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day” (2Tim 1:12). Three times in 2 Timothy, Paul writes of “that day” (“Day” being capitalized in some translations as NKJV and ESV to highlight its special nature). In each case, “that Day” refers to when we stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
In the verse just quoted, translators and commentators are divided as to whether the “deposit” (the thing that is “committed”) is given to Paul or to the Lord. In verse 14, clearly a deposit of truth is being committed to Timothy. That deposit is something the believer must guard. In verse 12, however, the Lord Himself keeps the deposit, and does so for that Day of evaluation and reward. It refers, therefore, not to a stewardship committed to Paul, but to Paul’s record of service unto his Lord. He sits in a Roman jail with no expectation of freedom. He knows that the executioner’s axe will conclude his earthly life. But another soon-coming day awaits which will reveal all that Paul has suffered for Christ.
You may be able to relate to Paul a little. The world around him has clearly not appreciated his activity. The Roman Empire arrested him for the second time. Even some Christians have not fully understood or valued him. Many have turned away from him in his last days. But the Apostle has no doubt that the Lord has seen it all, understood his heart, and kept a careful record to be unveiled on that day.
How can Paul be so sure he will be properly rewarded? How is he so confident that it will all be worth it? “For I know Whom I have believed.” He knows his Lord is faithful. “If we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us; if we are faithless, he remains faithful – for he cannot deny himself,” (2Tim 2:12-13 ESV). You have put your faith in a faithful God. You are serving a generous God. Your sacrifices are noted by an omniscient, appreciative God. It will all be more than worth it in that Day.