For the past few days, I’ve been going through the major life lessons I have learnt while working in full time ministry for the last three years. My job has been to “follow up” the children and young people who attend our events, with particular focus on those who become Christians or make other big life changes/decisions. You can find the past three lessons here, here and here.
The final lesson that I will share is this:
It is better to be rewarded in Heaven then on earth.
One crazy thing I’ve noticed about our society is that we reward stress. We all want so desperately to feel significant, and to feel like we’ve made a contribution. I see so many people working themselves dead trying to prove that they matter, that their contribution matters. Then they complain about how stressed out they are, how hard they’ve been working. They play the matyr role.
I prefer to be a “human being” rather then a “human machine” (unlike my husband, who has definite machine status), so I am not inclined to stress. But over the past three years, there have been times where I’ve been grumpy, short, and talked all about how oh-so-stressed I am, how many hours I’ve worked, how much I’ve had to get done, etc. And it’s not like I am consciously seeking for affirmation that my contribution matters, but after watching people and reflecting on my own life for some time, I’ve found that this is what I, and others, are doing subconsciously.
In the Matthew chapter 6, Jesus issues a warning around how we should pray, fast and give. He tells us that we should not announce it with trumpets, stand where we can be seen by all and change our appearance so that everyone can see. As harsh as it can be to hear sometimes, He tells us that the people who do that have already recieved their reward in full.
This makes me sad, that so many times I have let my pride seek out an earthly reward, at the expense of one in Heaven.
So, the time I gave food to a homeless person, and then bragged about it and only got “That’s really cool” as a reaction, well, I wasted my reward on that one.
The time I went on and on about how tired I was after working a 100 week and just got a few looks of amazement for a couple of seconds, that reward was wasted too.
The time I joked about how little we earn working in ministry, secretly trying to show how good we are for it, and the person didn’t give it a second thought, that was another reward gone.
I didn’t really get much of a reward for all my hard work any of those times, did I?
This last lesson is not something that I have seen in full yet. But the Bible tells us that no mind has concieved what God has prepared for those who love Him, so I trust that the reward I receive for all the times I give with humility is going to be far above what I’ll ever receive here on earth. So I resolve to stop seeking out earthly rewards, and start focusing on the Heavenly reward that is to come.
“Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”