5 Posts from January 2013

Temporal Rewards for Those Who Serve God

I’ll be candid with you. I have never read anywhere else in the Bible what God revealed to me in the latter half of 2 Corinthians 4:10–11:

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body. (2 Corinthians 4:10–11 NIV)

Do you observe the temporal reward woven into the lines of those verses? It is this: the quiet awareness that the life of Christ is being modeled.

That is part of what Paul meant when he wrote, “The life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” Frankly, I know of few more satisfying and encouraging rewards than the deep realization that our actions (and the motives behind them) are visible expressions of Christ to others.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. (2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV)

It’s not hidden. The Lord comes up front and says that when you and I take the role of a servant, there is the joyful realization that a thankful spirit is being stimulated.

And, please notice in verse 15, God gets the glory. It overflows!

—Chuck

Three Promises Regarding Our Faithfulness

In several places through the New Testament, there are statements of promise from God to faithful servants. I’m thinking of three in particular:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

Note: “your toil is not in vain.”

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. (Galatians 6:9–10)

Note: “we will reap.”

With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, this he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free. (Ephesians 6:7–8)

Note: “he [or she] will receive back.”

Here is what these promises mean for us:

  1. When we have done what was needed, but we were ignored, misunderstood, or forgotten . . . we can be sure it was not in vain.
  2. When we did what was right, with the right motive, but we received no credit, no acknowledgment, not even a “thank you” . . . we have God’s promise we will reap.
  3. When any servant has served and given and sacrificed and then willingly stepped aside for God to receive the glory, our heavenly Father promises we will receive back.

How good is that?

—Chuck

Two Things God Remembers about His Servants

Hebrews 6:10 is my all-time favorite verse about how God faithfully takes special note of those who serve Him.

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints.

Consider that verse! God is not unjust to forget our service to Him. He is faithful. The verse goes on to tell two things God faithfully remembers about His servants:

  1. He remembers our work—each individual act.
  2. He also takes note of the love within us that prompted the deed.

No one on earth can consistently do those special things. We forget, but God remembers. We see the action; God sees the motive. This qualifies Him as the best record-keeper and judge. He alone is perfectly and incessantly just.

Even the best of servants get weary. The Lord’s desire is to encourage us to be diligent and to trust Him in spite of the demands. That is why this same writer, before the ink is dry on verse 10, adds:

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence so as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end, so that you will not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (Hebrews 6:11–12)

My fellow servant, you’re in good hands with the Almighty!

—Chuck

God Takes Special Note of His Servants

God is faithful to take special note of those who serve Him. Of all the promises He has made to His servants, one stands out among my favorites:

For God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints. (Hebrews 6:10)

I like the way The Living Bible renders the promise:

For God is not unfair. How can he forget your hard work for him, or forget the way you used to show your love for him—and still do—by helping his children?

The writer is talking to Christians. The word beloved in the previous verse (6:9) assures us of that. And he is writing out of concern for a few of the first-century believers who had begun to cool off and drift from a close walk with God. He wants to encourage them to stay at it, to keep going, to count on the Lord their God to take notice of them and reward them accordingly.

In other words, he reminds them of that great truth all of us tend to forget when days erode into a slow grind: God is faithful! He uses eight words to convey this fact: “God is not unjust so as to forget.”

What does it mean to say that God is faithful? It means He is steadfast in His allegiance to His people. He will not leave us in the lurch. It also means He is firm in His adherence to His promises. He keeps His word. Faithfulness suggests the idea of loyalty; dependability; constancy; being resolute, steady, and consistent.

God isn’t fickle, no hot-and-cold temperamental moods with Him!

—Chuck

God’s Promises for His Servants from Revelation

Among the best-loved promises Christians have as their ultimate hope, two are found in the book of Revelation.

Here’s the first set of promises:

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1–4)

The second set of promises is equally inspiring:

There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illumine them; and they will reign forever and ever. (22:3–5)

Magnificent, incredible, unchanging hope drips from those immortal words!

I encourage you to mark them well. You will experience thankless days and long nights when these promises will get you through.

—Chuck