GOD’S REWARD PROGRAM
Almost every major business today has a program that rewards loyal customers. Whether it’s Starbucks, Tim Horton’s, Canadian Tire, Air Canada, Hudson’s Bay, the Hilton Hotels or McDonalds, rewards can be accumulated to benefit those who remain loyal to that particular business. Would it surprise you to know that God also has a rewards program? Of course, His ultimate reward, to all who have trusted in Jesus, is the gift of eternal life with Him. (Rev. 21:1-3) But in addition the Bible clearly speaks of rewards.
One day, every person who ever lived will be required to give an account of the stewardship of their lives. The books will be opened and even believers will be required to give an account. Knowing this Paul wrote, “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does, whether he is slave or free.” (Eph. 6:7-8)
While salvation is all about God’s mercy, rewards are about God’s justice. God’s mercy ensures eternal salvation for all who have trusted in Jesus. But God is also just. Who could ever think that a lazy or undisciplined believer who has done little to further the kingdom could somehow slip into heaven and receive the same eternal rewards as someone who has sacrificed and served Him faithfully even to the point of death?
The fruit that we produce for eternity now – or the lack of it – will affect what we can expect by way of rewards. Exactly what those “rewards” look like – besides crowns (Rev. 3:11) – Scripture is almost silent. Maybe it’s our capacity to enjoy heaven more fully? Maybe it’s a greater role in the new kingdom? We just don’t know. One thing is certain – a loving and just God will be equitable and fair to all.
Paul wrote in I Corinthians 3:10-15, “Because of God’s grace to me, I have laid the foundation like an expert builder. Now others are building on it. But whoever is building on this foundation must be very careful. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have – Jesus Christ. Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials – gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.”
God has given us this life to prepare for the next. “The time present, no doubt, is not a time of ease. It is a time of watching and praying, fighting and struggling, believing and working. But it is only for a few short years.” (J.C. Ryle) Our present moment is the only sure moment we have. What we do with it truly matters.
“Behold, I come quickly,” Jesus told us. “And my reward is with me to give to every man according as his work shall be.” (Revelation 22:12)
Be blessed my friend.
The Barnabas Group (Loads of Love)
II Timothy 4:7-8; Mark 10:28-31; Psalm 19:11; 62:11-12; Revelation 20:11-15; 4:9-11; Heb. 11:24-26