by Matt Slick
Sometimes I find myself looking heavenward and wondering what it will be like to dwell in God's presence. I know it will be wonderful. But, for now I want to live for God and do as much as I can to bring Him glory and point others to Him. There is nothing else that matters when compared to His greatness, His glory, His wonder, His beauty, and His grace. What else is there? Why live if I cannot live for Him? Why strive if it doesn't glorify Him? Why seek to work and accomplish in this life if it is not for Him, the sovereign and gracious King?
We can accomplish much in this world. We can gather possessions and money. We can raise families. We can show kindness and donate money and time for the benefit of the hurting. We can give and help, yet, if it is not for God's glory, what good is it? Yes, I know that it is good to help people. But, on the Day of Judgment when we are standing in the infinite purity of holy majesty will those things done to help others really matter? It depends.
Something is good if it is done for the purpose of glorifying God and in the name of Christ, that is, if it is done because it is a response to the Cross and for God's glory. If we feed the poor because it makes us feel better or so that we can be recognized, then our reward has already been given, "And when you pray, you are not to be as the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners, in order to be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full," (Matt. 6:5). If we give money to help others because it is a good thing to do, then we have already received our reward in self-satisfaction. But, if we help others because it is what God wants us to do, because we have been redeemed by Christ, because we are seeking to demonstrate the goodness of God's grace to others, then that is a good work, and the reward is yet to come. "Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done," (Rev. 22:12).
God sees what we do in secret. He knows the motives of our hearts and knows if the center of our lives and deeds is Him or ourselves. The rewards given are commensurate with the motives. Col. 3:23-24 says, "Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve."
In reality, there is nothing we can do that is pure. We are touched by sin in all that we are. Yet, God says that we will receive rewards in Heaven. This can only be because of His goodness and grace and not because of what is in us or what we do. I see our rewards as God's gift to us . . . but for a reason: because He loves us and because we can bring glory to Him.
Many commentators believe that in Rev. 14, the twenty-four elders represent the Christians and the the crowns are symbolic of the rewards God gives to us. Notice what it says, "the twenty-four elders will fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and will worship Him who lives forever and ever, and will cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Worthy art Thou, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou didst create all things, and because of Thy will they existed, and were created." How glorious an opportunity we will have to be able to bow before the Lord and lay before Him all the good things we have done in His name. In reality, anything good we do is because of God's grace, and He is the one who should get the credit. I long for that day of bearing all before the Lord and laying my crown before Him to the praise of His glory. He is worthy to receive glory and honor and power.
What is the reason for your life? What is in the depths of your heart? For whom do you live? Are you storing up rewards here on earth or up in Heaven?