Glimpses of grace seen in the everyday

Posts tagged ‘rewards’

Going for the Gold

Gold, silver, and bronze.  Sounds like the medals awarded Olympic winners.  And so they are—what athletes train hard for many years to achieve.  Olympic medals

So it’s interesting that these are the same precious metals contributed by the people of Israel for the construction of their place of worship.  Over 2000 pounds of gold, 7,500 pounds of silver, and 5000 pounds of bronze!  (Exodus 38:21ff)

Building with gold, silver, and precious stones shows up again in the New Testament, where these represent the good works of obedience and service performed by those whose lives are based on the foundation of faith in Christ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15). We are presented with two options:  Build our lives with these precious materials or with flammable junk. On the day we stand before God to give account of our lives, will we have a lasting legacy, or will we barely squeak by into heaven with with no rewards?

I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT)

Undercover Boss

The other evening we watched, for the first time, an episode of “Undercover Boss.”  The CEO of a pretzel company changed his appearance and spent time at several of his franchises posing as a new employee.  His purpose was to really see the situation of the people who worked for him and how he might help and encourage them.  Getting up close with them, he experienced the difficulties they faced with transporting their goods, heard how hard it was to make ends meet or pay college debts.  He got to share their hopes and their fears, their struggles and their tears—and to appreciate and admire these hard workers.  With tears he expressed how he longed to help them!

At the end of the episode, these lowly laborers were summoned to the boss’s  beautiful office where the disguise was discarded.  The boss expressed his appreciation of their diligence and empathy for their difficulties.  Then each one was rewarded with gifts suited to his particular need—a vacation, payment of a debt, new equipment to make his work easier.  And finally, a huge hug for the faithful employee.

Are you beginning to see what I saw in this?  Jesus Christ …

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!               (Philippians 2:6-8)

Yes, He came as one of us, looked like us, hung out with us, suffered the difficulties we humans endure, got hungry and thirsty and tired, was lied about and mistreated—and ultimately killed—all for our good. 

–Not just to give us a vacation but an eternal home in heaven. 
–Not just to pay our college debts but to pay the penalty for our sin and grant us a clean slate to stand blameless before God. 
–Not just to give us new equipment to do our job but to live with and in us day in and day out—teaching, guiding, encouraging and giving joy and strength. 

And one day when I get to see my Boss face to face, the best reward will be to feel His arms around me as He whispers in my ear, “Good job, my faithful daughter!  Welcome to your heavenly home!”

Why do we do what we do?

Why do we the things we do every day?  How much would be different if we know there would be no tomorrow?  What we believe about the future determines how we live today.

People paint their houses so they will be able to sell them in the future. 
People take blood pressure medicine to avoid serious health problems. 
People change the oil in their cars because they need them for future use.
People go to school so they can get a job and support themselves. 
People diet and work out so their body will be attractive & healthy.

Likewise, what we believe happens after we die should determine how we live this life.  As the apostle Paul said, if we believe that there is no life after death, we might as well “eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” (1 Cor. 15:32) IF there is nothing beyond this death to prepare for, why be concerned about living a pure life, helping others sacrificially, getting to know God better and doing what pleases Him? Why not live a totally self-centered life, focused on pleasure, applause, and comfort?  After all, as some fallaciously say, “you only live once.”  (I looked up this quote on the Internet and it gave 7,810,000 results!)

But IF we believe that this life is only the entryway to an eternal existence–either enjoying unimaginable delights in God’s presence OR unrelenting misery away from Him—this is what will determine and motivate what we do here and now.  The short-term costs of hard work, delayed gratification, and even suffering (along with the many delights the Lord furnishes along the way) won’t be worth comparing the glory that we’ll experience when we finally get Home!  Which will it be?  We have a lot of choices to make every day. 

So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.  (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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