How do we have the right motivation to continue serving God? One can notice in the gospels that Jesus mentions the issue of “rewards” 16 times. For instance, Matthew 10:42 says, “And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”
So, if you minister to another believer – simply because he or she is a believer and for no other advantage – you will be rewarded. God sees and He remembers. Matthew 16:27 states, “For the Son of Man is going to come with His angels in the glory of His Father, and then he will repay each person according to what He has done.” This is not a gospel of works. It does not say we have our sins forgiven by what we do; God has already done that. And yet, saving faith is evidenced by good works and this is rewarded. Or as the apostle Paul put it in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
We are to walk in good works, in the things that God has prepared for us to do. We each have an assignment from God that is specific to our person. Listen to 1 Co. 3:13-14: “Each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.” This is a key for having the right motivation: if you are faithful in the good works that were created specifically with you in mind, God will reward you. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul also tells us, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”
So first, our works are judged and rewarded according to our faithfulness to the assignment Christ has given us. Secondly, it would appear that the judgment seat of Christ also exists to test whether the person’s faith is genuine or not. What does the reward look like? We cannot be specific, but there are hints in the Bible. For example, in Jesus’ parable of the 10 minas (recorded in Luke 10), the nobleman says to his faithful servant, “You have been faithful in very little, you shall have authority over 10 cities – or five cities.” The idea is that the degree of faithfulness shown in something that was not your own is rewarded accordingly. He who is faithful in little – is given much.
Rewards are offered to motivate us. It may surprise us to notice that Jesus Himself was motivated by rewards. According to Hebrews 12:1, “Jesus – for the joy that was set before Him – endured the cross.” That is, the agony of suffering that was before Him was made bearable, because He had His eye set on the reward that lay ahead. We ought to do the same. We need to set our eyes on the fact that God rewards His own.
Even if no one notices you or thanks you, say to yourself, “God knows, God sees, God rewards! And that is enough!” Indeed, it is more than enough. Wise builders who build on the foundation will be rewarded! Imagine the scene around the throne of those who hear the words of Jesus, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little. I will give you charge of much. Great is your reward.” It will be better than the best Christmas you have ever seen. Bewildered believers who see the glory of God, the beauty of heaven, and the eternity of the Father’s promise are rewarded beyond what they can think or imagine.
APPLICATION: To all who are saved by Christ, may we be encouraged to continue to build on the foundation and serve the Lord with gladness. Let us be motivated by the rewards we will receive from Christ.
IF YOU ARE FAITHFUL IN THE GOOD WORKS THAT WERE CREATED SPECIFICALLY WITH YOU IN MIND, GOD WILL REWARD YOU.
Dr. John Neufeld
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