Rewards for What?|
Q. I read your article about which works are burned up during judgment. But, what are we rewarded for? Where should I focus my energies?
Boot Camp - Training for Reigning
I'm glad you asked because our lives are a very short, spiritual boot-camp where we are "training for reigning." We live in a dangerous world where any of us could die today. We need to learn to ignore our petty problems and get busy FAST doing things for our Lord and our forever life and relationships!
3 General Categories
The 3 general areas of rewards or loss are:
- For what we say - our words (Matthew 12:36-37).
- Our motives - why we do things (1 Corinthians 4:5).
- Our works and how we treat other believers (Hebrews 6:10).
You Can Take it with You
We have heard people say, "You can't take it with you" or "He who dies with the most toys wins." But, both of these statements are false. Jesus tells us to acquire eternal things and send it on ahead.
Use Leverage and Trade-Up in the Real Futures Market
"Go, sell all that you have, give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven, and come, follow Me" (Mark 10:21).
Jesus suggests we exchange our earthly treasure for heavenly treasure before we die.
"You have been faithful over a little. I will set you over much" (Matthew 25:21).
In His Parable of the Talents, Jesus expects us to work with what He gives us while we are on earth. We call this "leverage," that we can be faithful in just a little yet receive so much in return.
There are many specific things for which we will be rewarded. They include:
"With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord" (Eph. 6:7-8, NASB).
"The one who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and the one who receives a righteous person because he is a righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward" (Matthew 10:41, ESV).
This exciting area of supporting-ministries include our helping in missions, disaster aid, starving children, planting churches, welcoming speakers, housing guests, prayer, and financial aid among other things.
Persecuted for Righteousness Sake
"Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great" (Matthew 5:11-12).
History tells us that some early Christian martyrs tried to deliberately get themselves thrown to the lions. Why? Because they believed that their reward in heaven would be exceedingly great! This verse offers hope to all Christians who are unfairly maligned, beaten, thrown in jail, or rejected by close relatives because they are Christians.
Giving to the Lord
"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:20-21).
Loving your Enemies
"Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great" (Luke 6:35).
"Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven…" (Matthew 5:44-47).
"Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance" (Col. 3:22-24).
"Whoever wishes to be first among you shall be slave of all" (Mark 10:44).
Miscellaneous Deeds Rewarded:
How we treat other believers - "God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people" (Hebrews 6:10, NIV).
How we use our authority - "Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account" (Heb. 13:17, James 3:1).
Witnessing to others - "For what is our hope…or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?" (1 Thess. 2:19, 1 Cor. 9:16-17, Dan. 12:3, Prov. 11:30).
How we use our time - "Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the best use of the time" (Col. 4:5, Eph. 5:16, Psalm 90:12).
How much we suffer for Christ - "But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ…" (1 Peter 4:12-13, 2 Cor. 4:17, Ro. 8:18, Matt. 5:11-12, Mark 10:29-30).
How we react to trials and temptations - …"count it all joy when you fall into various trials…" (James 1:2-3, Rev. 3:10).
How we use our gifts - "As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards…" (1 Peter 4:10, 1 Cor. 12:4, 2 Tim. 1:6).
How we use our money - "Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Cor. 9:6-7). See also 1 Cor. 16:2, 1 Tim. 6:17-19.
How faithful we are to God's Word and Church - "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God…" (Acts 20:26-28). See also 2 Timothy 4:1-4.
Being martyred for Christ - "Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life" (Heb. 11:35-39).
Seeking God diligently - "Without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Prayer and fasting in secret - "But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:6, Matt. 6:17-18).
Helping the poor - "Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed" (Proverbs 19:17).
Humbling ourselves - "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:4).
Having a servant's attitude - …"whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all" (Mark 10:43-45).
Alcorn, Randy. 2002. The law of rewards. Wheaton, ILL: Tyndale.
Benware, Paul. 2002. The believer's payday. Chattanooga, TN: AMG.
Crockett, Kent. 2001. Making today count for eternity. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.
Wilkinson, Bruce. 2001. A life God rewards. Sisters, OR: Multnomah.