Expecting a reward is ingrained in the human nature. Right from a child demonstrating his best behavior for the promised toy to an adult who works hard to receive his paycheck, reward does form a major motivation for what we do. Reward certainly is part of the Christian theology, but what constitutes due reward? The Bible clearly outlines the eternal reward and the abundant life that a Christian inherits. However, for those expecting an outpouring of worldly reward, there is bound to be disappointment.
Jesus’ words to his disciples in Luke 17 are interesting.
7 “Suppose one of you had a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Would he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Would he not rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 10 So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’ ”
To those who eagerly go about doing ‘God’s work’ expecting great worldly rewards, this passage would come as a shocker. Really? That’s not the way contemporary Christianity works! Are we not taught that as we give ourselves to the Lord and give all we have to the Lord, abundant blessings will be poured down upon us? And most of the church today, lost in a materialistic illusion, orders their faith around the principle of ‘believing to receive’ from the Lord. Perhaps that is what Paul was alluding to in 1Timothy 6.
‘——–men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain. (v5,6)
It is a great tragedy of the modern day church that we are constantly in the ‘expecting’ mode. God has to constantly provide us with blessings for us to be satisfied- much like an infant who cannot be calmed without a feed in time. The motivation for faith herein is the worldly reward that a Christian hopes his faith will bring. And sadly, several churches today abound with that teaching- ‘believe and expect to be healed and expect to get rich’. Nothing can be farther than the truth!
In contrast, picture the unworthy servant in the illustration that Jesus uses in Luke 17, who looks at his faith with gratitude and rejoices in being part of the greatest miracle on earth- that of being saved by faith in Christ. For him, any service to the Lord and a desire to live for him is borne out of gratitude and a sense of fulfillment of duty- that of keeping one’s word, that of being faithful, that of sharing in a new reality- one of Lordship with Christ. His motivation is not one of receiving a worldly reward but one of acting out the new-found love he has for Christ.
A Christian should indeed be able to say, “I have already received my due reward in being saved by Christ, for me now to live is Christ, to die is gain”
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