Why are Christians so nervous about the fact that God offers reward based on service rendered? Of course, this is not how we gain salvation. That is conferred upon us by our gracious Father, based entirely on the merits of Christ. But once we are His, Scripture speaks so clearly of the fact that we will be rewarded according to our faithfulness.
Why is this such a problem to Christians? Why do we have to hedge it about with so many caveats?… “Of course, I am not serving God for the reward”…”Of course I am serving Him just to be faithful”…As though the two are separate. God would not present the truth of heavenly reward so clearly in Scripture if he did not want us to be motivated by it. What, oh what is the problem with that?
I think the dynamic of reward is something like this:
I come by an unexpected couple of hundred dollars. All my bills are paid. Nothing looms in the future to devour this money. I therefore have a choice. I can go to the mall and buy a couple of pairs of pants which I in some sense “need” according to the context of our society. This is a perfectly valid choice. God will not punish me for it. God is not against me in it.
But there is a better choice I can make. I can send that money to Voice of the Martyrs and fund indigenous pastors living on next to nothing. I have invested in that unseen, heavenly bank where treasures are stored up securely against the age to come. That wealth is eternal.
To me, Scripture is entirely clear about these types of decisions we make as Christians day in and day out. God has granted us this great freedom. Why do we not discuss it, embrace it? Actually deny that it should factor into everyday thinking?
Especially when the reward we strive for is something to do with God Himself: nearness to Him, increased service to Him in eternity. “Abraham, I am your shield and your very great reward.”
This is fundamental. And I need you to get it. To help me live by it!