I used to think that the back of a knitted piece was unimportant; it was only the front that the world could see that mattered. Surely I didn't care if the other side of was a mess of crisscrossed yarn, ends woven in without thought to color blends and the like. I was more interested in having fun with a project than making sure both sides of the work were picture perfect.
Then my sister started entering stitchery projects into her local county fairs, and visiting the needlework barn became a part of my regular summertime fair experience. It is one thing to put a finished item on display; it is another thing completely to have someone judge the work, to actually pick it up and examine it closely, and yes, to look underneath to see what lies behind the front that is on display. Even though I haven't yet entered the local competition and have no plans to do so, our discussions on what the judges might be looking for remains in the back of my mind and impacts the care with which I knit and finish a project.
Some of us live our lives the way I used to go about my knitting; making sure everything looked fine on the outside and thinking that what lay underneath the front I presented to the world was unimportant. Then someone mentioned to me the concept of a Judge Who looks behind the visible facade and sees the contents of the heart inside. Thoughts I would never have voiced are audible to His ears; sins hidden from others, He sees. Intentions, motivations, cut corners...nothing escapes His eye, His ear, His heart. And while He loves us, forgives us, and works with us to change, there will be a day on which the the way we've lived our lives is exposed for all to see and judged. It will not matter then whether we have believed and intentionally subjected our life's work to His scrutiny; our first breath was our enrollment and early withdrawals are not an option nor exempt from consideration.
This revelation is not to inspire fear, as surely if we have accepted God's offer of salvation, the future for us holds no fear. But rather it should inspire us to live the very best life we can, to live carefully and remember that even the smallest details matter to God. When we hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant...”, we will know a joy that no blue ribbon on earth can provide.
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.”
(1 Timothy 6:18-19 NIV)