Rewards And Motives
are so wicked aren't they? You may be perfect, but I know my motives need
continual scrubbing and examination. How self centered I am. Some
Christians are knowingly or unknowingly motivated by personal gain in
ministries. I'm not talking here about those obvious crooks who use
Jesus' name to build a cushy career on the wallets of those they cajole
into parting with their hard earned cash. There's plenty of those around
and they are usually pretty obvious to a reasonably discerning
Christian. They are certainly obvious to the secular world. |
No, there is a more insidious and spirit crippling "wickedness" that lurks in the recesses of the hearts of some Christians. That "wickedness" is the belief that by serving Christ they deserve or will get eternal rewards that will somehow set them above others in heaven. It's no different to the materialism that drives us here on earth to have what our neighbour has, and then some.
I'm not talking here about the fact that it makes far more sense to achieve things of an eternal worth or value through how we prioritize our labours here on earth. I know that Jesus says we should concentrate on serving Him, thereby, accumulating treasures for ourselves in Heaven, crowns for this and that etc, and that He exhorts us to be good stewards with what He has given us and to faithfully work to achieve something for the kingdom of God.
Rather, I'm talking about our motives and what we hope to do with any rewards Christ may give us. It's obvious some Christians want to parade their crowns around and show them off.
That "wickedness" I mentioned earlier is a kind of smugness that causes a Christian to be motivated primarily by treasures they think they are laying up for themselves in Heaven by doing something "for the Lord". Their carnal nature kicks in, and they start thinking of what they'll get, who they'll rule over, and how they might just make others a little envious. To my shame, I've been guilty of it myself.
Jesus says our rewards will be a by-product of our serving Him, and emphasizes that one of the main reasons for laying up treasures for ourselves in heaven is because eternal possessions will last forever whereas earthly possessions are fragile, depreciate and get stolen. It's also implied in the bible, that we'll want to cast any crowns or rewards we have received, at the feet of Jesus anyway, because we will, or should, realize just how infinitely puny and inadequate our service to Him has been in comparison to the CREATOR allowing Himself to be murdered by His creation just to save our unholy souls.
It is my duty to serve the Master. What, if any, reward He chooses to give me should not be an issue in my mind. He has given His life for me, what else should I expect. NOTHING! That's what.
Why is it that Jesus said many would say to Him one day (paraphrasing)..
"But Jesus, we did great things for you, in your name we healed people, cast out demons from people, we praised your name, we told people how great you were, we sacrificed our time for you and your kingdom, we had an internet ministry, we were song leaders, we played music in church for you, we were respected as great bible teachers, we had TV shows telling the world about you etc etc?"
But Jesus will look into their souls through their eager eyes and say firmly..
"Go away, I NEVER KNEW YOU!!"
What terror and knuckle whitening fear that would strike into me. How about you? I shiver thinking about the possibility. What will bring such a frighteningly cold response from the King of Kings The answer is, His knowledge of our motives, plain and simple. He will know what we were truly about.
When my children were little, sometimes they would come home with a picture or a drawing or something they had made for me in school, and eagerly they would give it to me, with their first attempts at writing across the top struggling to say, "I love you daddy" in smudged crayon. I still have such pictures. Why, because they were motivated by pure and simple love. Later, when teenagers, they would give me something or say something that was an obvious "con" job to get something out of me, money or a lift to a friend's house or whatever. I could see through it straight away and responded accordingly. Do we not think Jesus, who designed us, can do the same? You bet He can, and does, and will.
God has no favorites. All of us are equal before Him. From the greatest soul winner to the saddest drunk in the gutter, we are all equal before Him. All of our goodness is but a dirty piece of laundry in His sight. Any unique abilities we have are only there because He put them there, and anything we achieve for Him, is only achieved because He made it possible in the first place.
We should be living each day as a SERVICE to Jesus. Forget about eternal rewards, crowns and positions in God's kingdom we may attain. That's God's business and we can't begin to understand His thought processes as to who gets what and who does what in eternity. Learn from a couple of the disciples who asked Christ if they could sit next to Him in heaven. They were diplomatically told to "mind their own business".
Occasionally, let's just look into our hearts and reappraise our motives.
It should be more than enough, and we will have done very well, just to hear the Lord say to us in Heaven ....
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