Rewards; January 9, 2021

2 John 1:8 Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.

I don’t think this is talking about losing salvation, but it is certainly talking about losing various rewards for faithfulness. Paul also cautioned believers in this area in a bit more detail in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. The point is not to be uptight about what you’re going to get, but rather not to be stupid, distracted and deceived by the devil’s lies. The Bible talks about rewards in many places, but perhaps the most succinct is found in Hebrews: “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) That passage talks about perseverance, and that is a trait that seems to be in short supply these days. We want everything NOW, and seem to be averse to the long haul. That is yet another deception of our flesh and the devil. When we get impatient over our computer taking more than 10 seconds to boot, we are spoiled! We also have a poor definition of rewards. We get so used to what past generations would have considered incredible luxury and convenience that we somehow think we are deprived! That’s bad enough on the physical plane, but it’s even worse when it happens spiritually. In America, Bibles are available everywhere for anyone, and there are conferences and “holy convocations” at every turn. Not all are the same quality, but you have plenty to choose from. COVID put brakes on a lot of that, but now the online opportunities for receiving solid teaching are essentially limitless. As good as all that is, it doesn’t hold a candle to walking in daily, intimate fellowship with the Lord, filled and guided by His Spirit, and even that is just a reflection of what we will experience in heaven. In the next verse John talks about “running ahead.” That has obviously been a problem at least from the 1st Century, and it’s certainly a problem today. We have teachers even today who “proof text” teaching that “tickles our ears,” to use Paul’s expression. (2 Timothy 4:3) Following them will certainly lead to the kind of loss John is talking about.

I am grateful to have grown up with magnificent examples of perseverance in my parents. Arriving in Japan as missionaries in 1934 and ’35, respectively, they “hung in there” until God said it was time to come home, never deviating from the path God laid out for them. I can certainly do no better. As Jesus told us, my goals are to be God’s kingdom and His righteousness. (Matthew 6:33) If that is my focus, then the rewards that accrue to that pursuit are limitless. I have been tempted by various temporal rewards but none of them are worth the trouble, and many that the world encourages me to seek are actually negative in the long run, because they are distractions. My focus is to be on listening obediently to my Lord. Nothing else really matters.

Father, thank You for this reminder. The current political upheaval is certainly distracting. Help me truly rest, relax, and rejoice in You, whatever is going on around me, so that I won’t miss anything of what You have planned for me, for Your glory alone. 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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