Postponed But Not Forgotten

Based on 1 Corinthians 3:10–14, I see three facts about our eternal rewards for serving God. Let’s review the first two facts I mentioned last week, and then I’ll complete the list with the third.

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First, most rewards are received in heaven, not on earth.

Second, all rewards are based on quality, not quantity.

Here’s the third: no reward that is postponed will be forgotten. Make no mistake about it, the Bible clearly teaches that each of us “will receive a reward” (1 Corinthians 3:14).

Biblical Facts about Rewards

Scripture not only supports the idea of eternal rewards, it spells out the specifics. In 1 Corinthians 3:10–14, we find three primary facts about rewards. We’ll look at the first two today and complete the list next week.

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Before I mention the facts, let’s review the verses:

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. (1 Corinthians 3:10–14)

First, most rewards are received in heaven, not on earth. Please don’t misunderstand. There are earthly rewards. Even the world provides certain people with special honors:

The Dark Side of Serving Others

We pastors have received a priceless treasure (the glorious gospel) in a very frail and perishable container (our weak bodies). There is a reason.

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So nobody will have any question about the source of power, which must be of God and not of any human origin.

Read the words of the apostle Paul—an honest, humble, transparent servant of God:

A Season for Humble Gratitude

Sometimes it can be a challenge to give God daily praise, even when we possess the knowledge of His love and faithfulness. If you find yourself in this situation, the Psalms are often a great source to get you back on track.

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Psalm 116 is an extraordinary expression of love—addressed to God. “How do I love Thee, God?”

It reminds me of Browning’s poem: “Let me count the ways.” In counting the ways, the psalmist sets forth several magnificent truths about God’s goodness and deliverance.

Paul Was Normal, Like Us

Funny, we seldom think that a great apostle like Paul ever suffered from insomnia, but he did. He couldn’t sleep sometimes because of acute deprivations, like hunger, cold, and exposure . . . and sometimes because of his concern for the many ministries to which he had given himself.

Just like us
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“Daily pressure,” he calls it. Read his own words:

I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. (2 Corinthians 11:27–28)

Now that’s being under pressure. Sounds like the pastorate, huh?

Our Common Struggles: Affliction, Confusion, Persecution

In last week’s post, we were introduced to four common struggles all servants of God face. Really, they’re consequences. In 2 Corinthians 4:8–9 we read them . . .

Common Struggles
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Afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, struck down.

The first word, translated “afflicted,” comes from a Greek term that suggests the idea of pressure. This is stress brought on by difficult circumstances or by antagonistic people.

Responding to Treatment That Is Wrong

Greathearted, loving, caring, sacrificial servants of the living God have known ill treatment down through the centuries. The consequence of serving is no new phenomenon. It goes a long way back in time.

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I’m not aware of a more moving section of Scripture than these verses out of Hebrews 11, which declare the reality of the consequences of serving:

A Realistic Appraisal of Serving Others

We Americans like things to be logical and fair. We not only like that, we operate our lives on that basis. Logic and fairness are major priorities in our society.

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Meaning this: if I do what is right, good will come to me, and if I do what is wrong, bad things will happen to me. Right brings rewards . . . wrong brings consequences.

That’s a very logical and fair axiom of life, but there’s only one problem with it. It isn’t always true. Life doesn’t work out quite that neatly.

Ministry is part of life.

Get Involved

Eli participated in his sons’ godless behavior. We know this because Eli got fat on the food his boys had stolen from the altar (1 Samuel 3:19–21).

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As for Samuel, the boy who heard God’s voice, the closing words of this episode tell us that the sleepy, spiritual indifference that had lulled Israel into complacency was about to come to a screeching halt.

A man of action was on the scene, and Israel’s spiritual drift was about to end. Even as a little boy, he not only heard the Lord, but he obeyed His voice.

The Rewards of Serving

Serving God by serving others definitely has rewards, and they are numerous. They far outweigh the consequences. When we think about them, they motivate us to keep going.

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One of the great doctrines of Christianity is our firm belief in a heavenly home. Ultimately, we shall spend eternity with God in the place He has prepared for us.

And part of that exciting anticipation is His promise to reward His servants for a job well done.

I don’t know many believers in Jesus Christ who never think of being with their Lord in heaven, receiving His smile of acceptance, and hearing His “well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21 NIV).

We even refer to one who died in this way: “He has gone home to his reward.”