Rewards

John 5:44 “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?”

2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.”

I wonder if all the Hollywood award shows that are on TV affect you as they do me?  I am flabbergasted by all the honors given to those who sing and produce and act in movies or on television shows.  Then we have all the award shows for athletes, like the Espy’s, the Heisman Trophy, things like that.  It’s even a part of the Christian world with things like the Dove awards.  And while it might seem reasonable to honor people for a job well done, doesn’t it seem a bit overblown to you how we seem to fall all over ourselves giving awards to those who entertain us?  They are the most awarded, highest paid, and most written about people in the world.  I think that’s strange. Don’t you? 

Meanwhile, so many people who live their lives day in and day out in heroic ways to serve others might live and die without so much as a mention in a newspaper.  It makes me wonder how God looks at all this.  Just like today, men were constantly striving to receive honor from each other in Jesus’ day.  This was very evident among the most religious. The Pharisees sought the honor of men by the showy ways they prayed, fasted, gave their offerings, and just about anything else they did.  Of them Jesus said, “They have received their reward (Matthew 6:2).”  And then He rebuked them in the verse above from John 5 because they lived to receive glory from one another but they did not seek the glory that comes from God alone.  It reminds me of Hollywood today as the entertainers day after day reward themselves for the way they acted in make-believe movies in spite of the debauched lives so many of them lead (with the public oohing and awing as they follow it all). 

In contrast, the apostle Paul was constantly dishonored by the religious leaders of his day, and eventually “rewarded” with imprisonment and the death penalty as he lived, not to be glorified by men, but to serve the One Who had promised to reward him in the way that matters most, as he stood before the Judge of all the earth after he left this life. 

In Revelation 5:11-12 John is given a vision of what’s going on in Heaven right now.  There it says this: “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’”  Yet, this One Who alone is worthy of such praise has so incredibly honored us with the gift of His very life, and that in spite of our rebellion against Him!  Isn’t that an awesome thing? Isn’t this something so high and so vast that it’s almost impossible for our minds to grasp it? Yet that’s exactly what our awesome God has done.  It’s a thought that should humble us and lift our hearts in praise.  And it’s something that should give us a reality check on the honors this world is so ready to foist upon its own. 

God has so honored us with the greatest gift that was ever given not because of who we are, but because of how incredibly loving He is.  What an incredible blessing this is. What an example He’s given us. May God fill our hearts with gratitude for the honor He has shown us, and may that gratitude motivate us to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love our neighbor as our self.  And may God help those Who refuse to follow Him to realize the incredible ways God desires, nevertheless, to honor them one day if they would only believe.

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