Rewards; April 9, 2019

1 Corinthians 3:14-15 If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

These verses are not underlined in my Bible, because I don’t think I really wanted to confront this truth in relation to myself. Paul is in no way straying into some sort of “salvation by works” heresy, but he is saying that what we do matters. Just before this he says, “Each will be rewarded for his own labor.” (verse 8) Hebrews is no less clear: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Hebrews 10:35-36) God will never “stiff” us, but He does expect our best. Far too many people just do enough to get by, both in their employment and in terms of their faith. What they don’t realize is that they are short-changing themselves in the process. We should always do our best quality work in every situation, because God is our ultimate “employer,” and He can’t be fooled. Jesus spoke of love in terms of obedience, (John 14:15, etc.) but I think doing our best is involved as well. Grudging obedience could hardly be called love! We may not love our employer, but Paul, speaking to slaves even, said “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.” (Ephesians 6:7-8)

This issue is personal to me because at this point in my life I am increasingly concerned with legacy. For the most part I have sought to do my best for the Lord, but I really find myself wondering how much will remain when I am gone. I am in no way concerned for my own salvation, but I am concerned for the salvation of those to whom I have ministered. As far as this church is concerned, the building and land are of no consequence spiritually speaking, but I would like to leave a thriving congregation that is pleasing to God, and at this point that seems questionable. It all belongs to God, and I will answer to Him for my stewardship of it. That said, I know that I desire to do exactly what God wants, so I need to remember the passage from Hebrews that I already quoted, and rest, relax, and rejoice in my Lord.

Father, thank You for this reminder. My physical eyes don’t see much legacy for me to be leaving, but You see what is really going on spiritually speaking, and that is what matters. Help me remember Galatians 6:9. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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