God Rewards the Faithful
Heavenly Father, you always accept us just as we are, but you expect us to grow closer to you each day from wherever we are today, from this point forward. Help us to seek you more, know you more, and love you more by being obedient to your calling on our life.
Read: Matthew 16:27, NIV
27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.”
When we first give our lives to the Lord, we come as the ‘prodigal son,’ having lived life how we want to. Realizing the folly of living our own way, we turn to back to God. We surrender our life, our will, our ways and follow Jesus Christ; “then he said to them all, if anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23 NIV). From the moment of our salvation, we are called to be disciples of Jesus. This puts us in the same place as the disciples of Jesus in this passage in Matthew. He admonishes them to live their lives from an eternal perspective. Jesus points out that gaining the whole world is meaningless if we lose our own soul for eternity. In other words, the treasures we accumulate in this life will remain here, but the investments we make in the ‘afterlife’ will last for eternity. Jesus said, “do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break-in and steal, but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break-in and steal, for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21 NIV).
The Bible says that Jesus came to seek and save the lost. As his disciples, that is the call of God on our lives as well. “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV). With this commissioning of Christ to his disciples, we should have this as our same focus, as we go through life, every day. The opportunity to win people or witness about Jesus and His saving grace may come to each of us in different ways. I may see a man who is saddened by the death of a child and feels hopeless, only to have the Holy Spirit share God’s love with him through me. You may encounter someone with a long-term illness who feels no one cares and could share the truth that God ‘does care’ with them.
The verse in Matthew 16:27 points us to God’s rewards for us when he returns. Today, when you go to work, you expect your wages at the end of your week for what you have done. Jesus, in a very similar manner, will look to reward each of us for how we have helped to build His kingdom, when He returns. It may seem far off, but the last opportunity to share the gospel with someone may be ‘today.’ Will you be God’s instrument and share the good news with others?
Consider taking actions today that can make a difference in God’s kingdom. Perhaps you can begin by praying that God will bring people in your path whom you can encourage? Pray that the Holy Spirit will give you the right words and opportunity to share God’s love with someone who no one else can really connect with. Sharing the love of Jesus can come through the giving of food or shelter. You can also be involved in youth or children’s ministry and help disciple young people to grow in the Lord. The key for us is to listen for God’s leading and be obedient to that leading. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your hearts, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23-24 NIV).
Dear God, prick my heart today to get off my laurels and actively engage in building your kingdom. The world has told us to leave them alone, but you came to redeem me and everyone else from death. Without your message getting out into all the world, how can everyone know and receive you? Make me a part of the communication plan to tell others about you…today!