Rewards in heaven . . . Who needs em then?”

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rewards-in-heavenDoes God promise rewards in heaven?

“Rewards in heaven?  Who needs rewards in heaven? I will thrilled just to be able to go to heaven! Give me the smallest mansion in heaven any day!” I would imagine that the above sentiment expresses what many Christians today feel concerning spiritual rewards.   Just what do you know about spiritual rewards?  There isn’t a whole lot of information out there concerning this subject.  Yet Jesus Christ himself spoke considerably on the subject.

Consider how the Lord rewarded His faithful servants in the parable of the talents in Matthew 15.  What a joy it is when God rewards us!  What a joy it is when God approves us!  Do not allow yourself to think that the approval of God is a small thing.  I personally believe that God made us all with a craving for approval, for attention.  We did not get that from Satan, although his thirst for glory and recognition was the driving force that motivated him to desire the position of God and got him kicked out of heaven.  This “bent” for approval and recognition can lead us far from God but it can also draw us near to Him if we value His recognition above that of all others.

I can see in my two sons how they have responded to my recognition through the years.  My firstborn is quite a musician.  He took music lessons as a small boy, learned music theory on the piano, and from there took a few guitar lessons and taught himself how to play the most difficult guitar riffs in modern music today.  Whenever he learned something new, he would always want to show my wife and me how he mastered part of a solo.  Of course, we always gave him a healthy dose of recognition and together with the recognition of his friends and admirers he went on to learn how to play, the base guitar, keyboard, drums, violin, saxophone and the flute.

My youngest son today has distinguished himself as bible teacher.  His mother and I gave him approval at a very young age but he assimilated our approval as just being considerate and kind parents.  Today because he has advanced and gained recognition from others, he has grown much more.

Approval is powerful!  On the other hand, we can argue that reproof is the worst thing that a person could go through short of going to hell. History and research have shown us that reproof and lack of approval is fatal to the human soul.  Therefore, the reward for the faithful is approval of God: hearing His voice bragging on us is the sweetest music in the universe.  Christians, who find this argument overly sentimental and even carnal in emphasizing of the value of God’s approval of His children, should examine themselves and consider that they may have some deficiencies in their own self-identity.  Let’s face it; a healthy self-identity is a gift of God.  A troubled and overly exalted or overly despised self-image is the scourge of servitude to Satan.  If receiving human approval is a joy to our children, imagine the effect of receiving praise from the mouth of God will have upon them.

Just think what that day will be like!  Imagine entering through the gates of glory and contemplating a countless multitude of saints.  Suddenly you hear your name, and the Lord publicly declares “Welcome, good and faithful servant!” That would be a marvelous situation wouldn’t it?  I don’t know about you but I want to hear that from my Lord, I want Him to approve me!  I have learned to live with the desire for His recognition as one of His faithful servants.  In case you feel inclined to judge me as being driven by “man-centered” motivation as opposed to God centered, let me just remind you that it is God who has made these promises.  We should not despise them!

With all due respect to my dear brothers who interpret Christian humility as if it were the attitude that we should just forget about ourselves and strive to be expressionless nobodies so that the Lord can be exalted on High.  Listen, the Lord can hold His own among those of His children and servants who know who they are in Christ!  I am not diminishing the need to exalt the Lord, but emphasizing the need to recognize that He is exalted through what He is able to do through you and me!  It is ridiculous to imagine that someday the Lord will publicly approve someone who is stuck on themselves and hungry for glory.  Yet hunger for the approval of God is the most biblical motivation out there.

I hunger for His approval because I love Him, Just as I hungered for my father’s approval because I loved him and my sons hunger for my approval because they love me.   I have come to recognize that I have received a talent from the Lord, and for that reason, I am inexcusable.  My goal is to be available to God and to have a heart to multiply these talents, obeying God’s call on my life so that on that day He approves me to reign with Christ through the entire thousand years of His reign.

Rewards are precious and they are not reserved for heaven. There well may be rewards in heaven but the rewards that Christ spoke of are separate from our salvation and tied to our Christian service.

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