I became an heir of God (Romans 8:17)
Several years ago I was involved with a group called Campus Crusade for Christ.
One activity I did with them was to join a team showing the Jesus film in
Mexico. It was a great experience and my years of involvement in Campus Crusade
were foundational to my growth in faith and my passion to see lives changed
by the Gospel of salvation.
While in Mexico we had several sessions with a speaker whose name has long
left my memory. The lectures he gave were on the subject of rewards. I have
always been bothered by the manner in which he viewed service to Christ and
his subsequent hopes of rewards. His basic premise was that his only motivation
for service to Christ, was that by serving Christ, his crown would be bigger
in heaven. His robe would be whiter. His mansion would be bigger. He was
quite plain about it. He was all about rewards.
Now, it is not a sin to desire rewards. It is at least implied in Hebrews
12:2, that Christ thought about His reward and it was a motivation to Him
when we read, "...who for the joy set before Him endured the cross..." It
seems that the joy set before Him is most logically heaven. So Christ thought
about what would be future and there is no reason why we may not also.
But it is not proper to have a carnal desire for heavenly rewards. We are
not to look upon rewards as mere pleasure or fleshly delights. Such thoughts
cheapen the reward and forget that the object to be considered in the reward
is not ourselves, but rather Christ. Our happiness is not our final goal.
As Christians we live reflective lives and because of the mercy given us
in Christ, we seek God's glory above our own.
However, whatever we may say about rewards, they are promised in Scripture
and they are not like the rewards Dionysius promised to musicians who played
before him. He promised them great rewards and when they came to collect
their reward, he told them they had already had their reward just by having
had hopes of a reward. The reward was the pleasant expectation that there
would be a reward. However, the promise of Christ is different as He says
in Revelation 22:12, "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with
me, to render to every man according to what he has done." With this in mind,
and reflecting on the great mercy we have received through Christ, let us
serve the Lord with joy.