Tuesday, January 7, 2014

There is reward for your work

This is from the blog Daily Meditation:

2Chronicles 15:7: But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.”

The work of God can be tasking sometimes, but we need to remember that the reward is assured. Jesus’ work involved laying down his life on the cross; John the Baptist’s work has to do with wearing Carmel hair and eating meagre food, locust and honey, living a very austere life; Paul’s work involved not getting married; Amos’ work involved leaving his business which he loves as a farmer and going to be a prophet. They all will be rewarded.
Paul wrote that we should not be weary in doing good things because we would reap in due time if we faint not, the reward is only for the consistent (Galatians 6:9).There is blessing in serving God, the bible says so (Exodus 23:25).

In the focus verse someone was being told to take courage and not let his hands be weak, because whatever he is doing for God will be rewarded.  These words are important because in the heat of “battle,” because of the fearsomeness of the opposition, it is possible to lose heart.

But Jesus refused to be discouraged. He set his eyes on the goal. For the joy set before him, he despised the shame of the cross (Hebrews 12:1-3). He was focused on the reward, which came to him in multiple folds. Paul said that our light affliction is nothing to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

The kingdom of God existed in a system of increasing rewards but on this earth the reward we have is to a large extent not for the work we have done, but what Christ has done (however the reward we have in heaven is to a large the result of the work we have done on earth).

For example we are saved not as a result of something we do but as a result of something Jesus did. The only thing we need to do is to believe, and confess him (Romans 10:9-13). This is like appending your signature to claim the benefits of the pain he bore on the cross to take way our pain of eternal damnation. Whatever way we operate on the earth is based on the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, flowing in what he released on the earth as possibilities in our relationship with God and service to him.

In the same way, we are enjoined to have a servant’s heart like Jesus Christ. When we work at our gifts, we bring benefits to others and the only thing they need to do is to receive from us. Since we are all a part of the body of Christ, we should bring benefits to others through our work.

Peter said those who speak should speak as oracles of God and that is a tall order, and those who minster, serve, with the ability that God gives (1Peter 4:10-11); so even in our work it is still God who works in us and we are able to speak and be a blessing through that or offer non-speech assignments, as tools for God.

When the bible says God is at work in us, it therefore means we would be rewarded for releasing ourselves for God to work through us. On our own, we don’t anything to offer, we are merely vessels. Paul said we are earthen vessels with treasures inside (2Corinthians 4:7). Though the vessel is weak, and unadorned with beauty, it is valuable because of what it contains, its capacity. And it is the capacity to express love (1Corinthians 13).

So the reward is for yielding and for faithfulness (1Corinthians 4:2). But when we understand that we are faithful because God enables us to be faithful, then we know that all glory to God and none to us, either in heaven or on earth. For eternity, we are beneficiaries of the goodness of God expressed in Jesus.

However, we still need an understanding of the reward of God, without which we might grow weary. Peter asked Jesus: we have left all and followed you, what will be our reward (Mark 10:28-30)? Abraham followed the dictate of God to leave his father’s house to an unknown land, but along the line, he asked God: what will you give me (Genesis 15:2)? That is to be our motivation, what we set out eyes to. Our labour of love, or service and obedience to him is not in vain. Jesus told Peter that he will receive multiple of what he gives up for him, and God gave Abraham a son through Sarah, his aged wife.

We are told to look to Jesus, set our hearts on things in heaven and not on things on earth (Colossians 3:1-2). When we look into the pages of the bible, we are to see the hope and life in it. When Jesus told Peter and his brother to follow him, he promised to make them fishers of them, a new calibre of fishermen entirely. At the end of the day Peter had his name among the twelve apostles whose names were on the foundation of the New Jerusalem. By following Jesus in time, they gained eternal relevance.

The wise do not focus on the temporary things but on the eternal things, knowing that it is the Spirit that gives life the flesh profits nothing (John 6:63). There is no need to lament about what is lost because there are greater things ahead, greater objectives to achieve, and reward unlimited.

Paul said everyone will receive his reward from God, according to what his work shall be. That is why it is required in stewards that they are found faithful. Paul sent a message to Archippus to ensure that he fulfils the ministry that he has from the Lord (Colossians 4:17), he spoke of Demas that he got distracted from the way of the lord, from his service to pursue pecuniary gains (2Timothy 4:10), he valued natural gain more that spiritual gain.

Talking about reward Paul said that you don’t muzzle the ox that threshes the grain, and it is the farmer who plants that will first eat of the fruit of the farm (1Corinthians 9:1-14). That means you get to share in the positive things that the service that you performed achieved.

Paul said that if he has sown spiritual things to the people he has the right to reap their carnal, natural things from them; he has the right to their natural goods. He commended the Philippians church for their offering to him, as a responding to his need, as he has been a father to them, a spiritual father (Philippians 4:15-20), bringing them spiritual benefit.

Paul also said those who serve at the altar should eat of the altar, in an allusion to the Old Testament where the priest which helps the people with their connection with God, their relationship with God, gets to partake of what the worshippers of God brings to God, as they respond to God’s.

When they give directly to the men of God it is like a sweet smelling savour to God (indirectly they are giving to God), and he will reward the giver for being a channel of reward for the man of God (for his spiritual service), and the cycle goes on.

The bible says that the he who gives to the poor lends to the Lord (Proverbs 19:17), which means that God will reward such acts of selflessness. Jesus pushed for this kind of selfless attitude, telling the people that when they hold a feast they should invite the poor who may not have the opportunity to invite them in turn, and then their reward will come from God in big way (Luke 12-14).

In another place Jesus said that whoever gives a prophet a cup of water because he is a prophet will reap a prophet’s reward (Matthew 10:40-41). For helping the prophet with their physical needs, or some other messengers of God, you join yourself to him for whatever reward that is his for his service, since you have assisted him in that service.

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