Does God have a heart to reward His faithful servants? I just want to encourage those of you out there who are serving Christ with your whole heart. If you are serving for the right reasons you are definitely in line for rewards that are so huge, you cannot begin to fathom them now!
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, The things which God has prepared for those who love Him”. 1 Corinthians 2:9
I just hope you will read that sentence again, and again, and again.
I don’t think many of us are giving as much attention to it as we should.
This is really good news for those of us who TRULY love God.
We cannot begin to comprehend the amount of GOODNESS God has laid up for us.
With God the stakes are very high. You are either a lover of truth and a lover of God, or you are a despiser of truth and a despiser of God. Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters – for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot service God and riches.” (Matthew 6:24).
Some people despise God by having such a heart for the idols of this world – be they pictures of mythical deities, pictures of beautiful human bodies, money, fame, personal acclaim or anything else “of the world”. The Bible declares that when you love the world or the things of the world, you don’t really love God ( 1 John 2:15-17). You might love a “God” of your own imagination, but you don’t love the God who is really there, the one who inspired the Bible and told us that we must value Him supremely. If you love the things of this world , you don’t love the real God who worked in history in such events as the raising of Jesus Christ from the dead after three days.
But for those of you who have learned to “love not the world”, but rather to “hate your life in this world” and “love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul and bodily strength” – GREAT THINGS ARE IN STORE.
There is no human experience to date which adequately gives a picture of how great this is going to be for us. Perhaps the best picture God has given us of it is the picture of “The Wedding Supper of the Lamb” – where we are “The Bride of Christ”. I think the most exquisite emotions of romantic love are only a miniscule shadow of the kind of emotion that God has in store for those who have truly loved Him. They have love God through the evil and buffettings of this world – a world where Satan is trying to pervert and destroy everything and everyone. Those who “love their lives not unto death” are going to receive an eternal “Crown of Life” from the Author of Life Himself.
We are going to weep I think when we truly understand how much Jesus Christ and the Father have truly loved us.
Look what Jesus says in the parable in Luke 12:32-44
“Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them.” (Luke 12:37)
Can you imagine being personally served by Jesus Christ Himself?
Jesus went on to say concerning the faithful servants who give the right message of the word of God to God’s people:
“Truly, I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has.” (Luke 12:44)
Can you imagine being a ruler over even 1 millionth of all that Christ has? That itself would be too big for words. What would it be like to be a ruler over all that Christ has?
Clearly for this to mean anything in reality, Jesus has to find faithful people He can trust – people who have His mind and His heart. You and I can experience these things in this life, to some measure, if we will allow Christ to teach and correct us.
God’s Word says that God has made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6,7)
I promise you this will not be some kind of dry emotionless experience. When God reveals His goodness and favor, we will be utterly overwhelmed, blessed beyond comparison.
The Bible also says: “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12)
People in this world talk about having a body worth dying for. But I tell you, THAT CROWN that Jesus will give those who endure temptation is really WORTH DYING FOR.
A Special Crown for Faithful Pastors
There is a special crown promised to faithful pastors (shepherds) of God’s people. God knows that pastors can have a tougher time than the average believer. A REAL pastor, a true pastor, is in the habit of laying down his life for the sheep, and this COSTS. God is going to reward faithful pastors in a special way. He says:
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the Crown of Glory that does not fade away.” (1 Peter 5:4)
The secret here in getting rewards in eternity is to avoid seeking to get them now. Jesus warned us about doing good deeds with the motivation to be seen by men.
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
If one of your main desires in becoming a church leader or a pastor with growing influence is to somehow be personally validated and recognised – you might achieve this – but you will miss out on the eternal rewards you could have had.
The Crown of Glory mentioned in 1 Peter 5:4 will not be given to those who by and large sought their own glory here and now. Much better to seek the glory of the LORD. After all – HE is the One who created things, redeemed things and suffered so much to ransom us out of the devil’s camp. He deserves the credit.
The Magnitude of the Eternal Rewards
Some Christian people who say they don’t care about the rewards God will give probably do so because their understanding concerning these things is very dim. Some of the same people will no doubt rejoice if they get a pay rise at work, or if they snag a great new client in their business. We tend to put value on the things we can see and touch. Jesus Christ is encouraging us to see the eternal rewards with the eye of faith so that we will put some serious effort into obtaining them.
In the parable of the talents, God says to the man who traded 5 talents and obtained 5 more:
“Well done, good and faithful servant.; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
In the parable of the minas, it is even stronger. The master gave each servant a mina. One came back and said:
“Master, your mina has earned ten minas”.
And he said to him, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in very little, have authority over TEN CITIES.” (Luke 19:17)
A mina was about 50 shekels. In any case, it wasn’t SO much. Now consider this: the one who was faithful in very little, was put in charge of TEN CITIES. That sounds a lot more significant.
Thus the rewards of the future age will FAR OUTWEIGH any rewards we might be able to obtain here and now. We should be focussing on what ETERNAL REWARDS we are shooting for, and we should do everything we can to ensure that no one takes our prize.
Jesus told us to deny ourselves in this life, and be willing to lose our lives for the gospel, “for the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and THEN He will reward each according to His works.” (Matthew 16:27)
If you believe in God, if you believe in Jesus and the gospel, then believe in the rewards that are promised, and let them motivate you to do your very best to glorify Jesus Christ and help strengthen His kingdom on earth here and now in whatever way you can. You won’t regret doing that in eternity.
By Michael Fackerell