I love rewards. Especially after a job well done, there’s nothing sweeter than a reward: a commendation, a pat on the back, a gift maybe – if I’m being honest 😊
When I became a Christian and started reading my Bible, I was fascinated to know that Jesus spoke a lot about heavenly rewards. Granted, I wasn’t exactly enthralled initially at the thought of ‘heavenly’ rewards. I wanted my rewards right now, on earth, in this space and dimension and preferably something I could use, touch and be seen with! But as the Lord slowly started working in me, I felt a change of heart. I realised that Christ is my reward, my portion, my inheritance…and that there are also other rewards. I couldn’t fathom what they could be, but I knew they were more precious than anything here on earth.
The words of Jesus really took hold of me:
Matthew 6:20 ESV
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
Luke 6:23 ESV
Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
Colossians 3:23-24 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.
Matthew 25:21 ESV
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
Suddenly I was excited, motivated, ambitious even. I started to see how precious and amazing these heavenly rewards actually are. It took me some time to see that rewards are linked to bearing fruit, and bearing fruit is linked to being rooted and grounded in Christ.
Are you confused yet?
Rooted in Christ: Are you a Christian? Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and have you accepted him as your Lord and Saviour? Are you abiding in Him through his word?
Bearing Fruit: If you are abiding in Him, then by the help of the Holy Spirit, you will bear fruit. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Rewards: When you are rooted in Christ and are bearing fruit, you will live a life worthy of the gospel (however imperfect) and you will Lord-willing, receive your heavenly rewards!
I don’t know about you. But I find all this exciting but unnerving as well.
It makes me wonder:
|How can I do this (i.e. live a life worthy of the gospel)?|
How is this even possible? My life is full of sin!
How can I cherish eternal rewards above the allurements of this world? There are so many temptations and enticements around us and in the world. Most of them are even what I would label ‘innocent’ desires: a desire to have a good marriage, a desire to see my children learn and excel, a desire to be a good homeschooling mum, a desire to have our own home and to have a healthy body. It’s so difficult to keep my eyes open to heavenly realities when so many other things compete for my attention.
Am I able to see beyond the immediate? Am I able to sift through all the images and emotions and temptations that come at me? Am I able to see that this world is temporary and passing? Am I able to keep my eyes focussed on the real reward, Christ himself?
The answer is: no, not on my own.
My only recourse is to go to God and ASK Him. Ask him to do that which seems impossible to me, to do more than I can think or imagine, to ask him to enable in me that which he commanded me.
Luke 11:11-13 ESV
What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I believe this is enough.