How often do you think about rewards for faithful living? Few of us are mindful enough of the reality of God’s rewards. But Scripture is clear that God is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Furthermore, we are instructed to lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Those thoughts should be connected to last week’s mission work in Belize. And whether or not you personally contributed to any work in Belize, insights on rewards will serve you well!
God’s rewards are not restricted to the future. Jesus’ words about treasures in heaven aren’t the only ones on the subject. The majority of divine rewards and treasures are reserved for our future. But we get to enjoy some of them now. Scripture, song, and verse has described our current enjoyment as a foretaste. And learning to see and enjoy that foretaste should make us live in greater anticipation of our future rewards.
That said, let’s connect back to the work in Belize…
One of the big items last week was the graduation of the pastors. That event was a combination of affirmation and encouragement. And those two things weren’t limited to the graduating pastors! We had two U.S. pastors that volunteered to help teach. Both had been on prior mission teams. And we spoke often about our own sense of affirmation and encouragement as we taught and shared with our brothers in Belize. That was one small foretaste of future rewards!
The Apostles put the labors of their ministry in terms like:
We got to be part of those things last week. It was a joy to see fellow believers grasping truth and applying it their lives and ministries. But that was just the beginning.
Part of my message in the graduation ceremony was based on Paul’s writings to the Thessalonians. He expressed great joy in their journey of faith. He encouraged them in their work. And he looked forward to even greater things in their future and his own. It was rewarding to look out over so many well-known faces and feel for them what Paul said to the church at Thessalonica.
Many of you enable the ministry that has been entrusted to me. And it is very much about the future. More than ever I take joy in equipping others. By doing so I have a part in the future of their ministry. That fact was very obvious last week. There were some young pastors there. If life goes its normal way, the ministry of these young pastors will continue beyond my life. And that’s another motivator to lay up treasure in heaven. Why?
God’s sovereign design for His rewards is at the end of time. We each have the opportunity to invest in other people. And people are always God’s mission. Our labor to see faith formed in them allows us to participate in the fruitfulness of their Kingdom service. It may be best to illustrate the concept.
Do you think there will be great rewards in heaven for Billy Graham and D. L. Moody? That’s an easy question. Here’s the one you didn’t ask:
What about rewards for those who led Billy & Dwight to Christ?
Rewards are about being faithful. When a Sunday school teacher led Billy Graham to Christ no one had any idea how God would use the young Graham. We can see it now. So remember: Our task is to be faithful. God is always in charge of the results!
Rewards: I Can Only Imagine
So we got to enjoy a foretaste with friends in Belize. And to echo a now-famous song, I can only imagine what God will do with and through the lives we were blessed to equip. But don’t think that only applies to me or the mission team members. Everyone who prayed, gave, equipped, and encouraged has a part in the future of these pastors and their churches. How do I know? Jesus said so in Matthew:
He who receives you receives Me, and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me. He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you, he shall not lose his reward.
Our Father rewards perfectly. The ones who pray and equip are rewarded equally with the ones who go. So engage in the Kingdom however you can. Pray for us. More opportunities await. Please pray for the pastors and churches in Belize. And be a little more aware that life here isn’t about the stuff. It’s about using the stuff to lay up treasures in heaven!
Soli Deo Gloria!