“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)
“The ‘Overcomers’ seek to realize the golden rule.” That is the head-line chronicling the trials and tribulations of the Spafford family. Their two-year old son died, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed their business and only his wife survived the shipwreck that took their four daughters lives. Sailing to Europe to gather his alone and broken-hearted wife, the ship stopped in the vicinity of the tragedy. It was there that he wrote the words to “It Is Well with My Soul.”
Returning home their church accused them of being under Divine punishment. Persecuted, they left Chicago leading a small group to Ottoman-Turkish Palestine and settled in Jerusalem. Laboring among the poor without regard to religious affiliation they served the Muslim, Jewish and Christian communities. Jesus’ reward will be with Him “to render to every man according to what he has done.”
We have a choice.
Jesus discussed being honored by men or rewarded by God more than a dozen times in the Gospel of Matthew. His Spirit is not deceived by religious actors seeking vain glory. Loud and lengthy prayers and boasted deeds mean nothing to Him. Our Father’s children are called to secretly pray, fast and give. When we do, God rewards us openly. (Matthew 6:1-2, 5-6, 16-18; 10:40-42)
We are still dwelling in flesh with its tendency to desire, if not seek attention. Acknowledgement and gratitude can be expected, or at least the showing of some appreciation seems only right. Warning: the flesh only leads us to failure. Anger, hurt feelings, shock of discovering disrespect and all of the judgement that can lead us to hate. It is best to be recognized by God. It is truly satisfying.
To be complemented or honored in some way can easily feed our pride. Our bodies, our gifts and talents were God-given. It is for us to praise Him for this opportunity called “life.” All of this and still Jesus speaks of coming rewards. For the persecuted for righteousness sake, great rewards. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12)
An interesting thing about rewards.
Jesus said that our reward in the kingdom would be according to our own labor for the kingdom. “Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.” (1 Corinthians 3:8) We are “one” building on the same foundation, Jesus Christ.
“Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work is burnt up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)
We are all brothers and sisters in Christ with the gift of eternal life. Still on earth with the breath of life, now is our time to labor for the kingdom. Those who have been forgiven much are compelled by their love. Their labor seeks no greater reward than to hear the Master say, “Well done”
“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21, 23; Luke 19:17)
Father, we were dead in our sins when You awakened us with the Light of Life, words given by Your Son. You sent Your Spirit to dwell in us. Now we are forever part of God Almighty’s family. There can be no greater reward than what You have already given us in Jesus. Thank You.
“And the nations were enraged, and Your wrath came, and the time came for the dead to be judged, and the time to reward Your bond-servants the prophets and the saints and those who fear Your name, the small and the great, and to destroy those who destroy the earth.” (Revelation 11:18)