Motivational speakers are a dime a dozen. We all love to be motivated. At the pinnacle of the motivating profession is Tony Robbins. With decades of experience mentoring top celebrities and business owners, Mr. Robbins has earned quite a name for himself.
One of the more memorable exercises he uses is called the rocking chair test. The test is simple. Clear your mind and imagine yourself old and gray, sitting in a rocking chair at the end of your life. Thinking back on the life you lived, what is the main thing that puts a smile on your face? Is it the size of your bank account? Is it because you found your dream job and climbed your way to success? Did you travel the world and see all the things you wanted to see? Tony Robbins says that if you think seriously enough about it, you will realize that very few of the things you are concerned or fearful about now will actually matter when you reach that age in the rocking chair.
I believe he is right. What will truly matter to you will be the friends you made, the love you gave, and the people who love you in return. In the end, the people you loved and the people that loved you will be all that matters. Relationships will trump everything else.
This is wise advice that anyone can use, but I think the test is a little short-sighted, especially if Christianity is true. Instead of the rocking chair test, we should give ourselves the Pearly Gate test. Clear your mind and imagine yourself already passed away from this short temporary life, and you are standing before your Creator.
Like the rocking chair, you will certainly focus on the people you loved and the people that loved you. Relationships would still matter, but that wouldn’t be the end of it. If relationship with others is fundamental to our true purpose and joy, then what about the relationship we have with our Creator? You are standing before him, what would he say? What would you say? How would you feel about your relationship with the one that gave you life? In your earthly life, how well did you love the one who gave his life for you? Did you even know him or have a relationship with him at all?
If Christianity is true, then there are some things that are abundantly clear about that meeting with your Creator.
First, it doesn’t matter how good of a life you lived, none of it will be good enough to meet the standard, since the standard is perfection.
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
— Matthew 5:48
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
— Romans 3:23 NLT
Second, the earnings for our imperfect standard is separation from our Creator.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.
— Romans 6:23
Lastly, despite deserving separation, our Creator provided the way for us as a free gift, all we must do is genuinely accept this gift.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
— Romans 5:8 NIV
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.
— Ephesians 2:8
So how did you do with the Pearly Gate test? Do you believe there is nothing you can do to meet a perfect standard of goodness? Do you understand that falling short of this standard means separation from God? Most importantly, have you accepted the free gift of his Son, restoring your relationship with him? How is your relationship with your Creator? How you answer this question will be all that matters in the end.