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August 30, 2016
Our lives are filled with many choices of how to spend our time, energy, and resources. Some live for money and possessions, amassing as much as they can, while some invest their time in education or entertainment, hoping to find long-lasting value and enjoyment.
How do we make the best use of the choices we have in life?
Imagine that you are a stock trader at your office, researching the best stocks to invest. You feel a nudge on your shoulder and look up to see Jesus Christ himself standing beside your desk! He smiles, reaches into his pocket and gives you a sheet with the 10 best companies to invest your money in for the next 50 years. You can’t believe what just happened! God has given you the winners you were trying to predict. You are astonished at the grace of God and are excited to go “all in” with your money into those companies. Anything less than going “all in” would be the waste of a lifetime.
The truth is, if you are a Christian, God has already given you the incredible opportunity of knowing the future so that you may be able to invest your life wisely in the light of it. The Scriptures tell us specifically about the things that Christ will reward.
As you read, make it your prayer and ambition to go “all in” for these investment opportunities. Here are 10 things Christ promises to reward:
1. Prayer and Fasting
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.…But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6, 17-18)
The first guaranteed winner is prayer and fasting. God desires that his children seek him through faith-filled prayer and fasting, and he promises to reward those who earnestly seek him (Hebrews 11:6). Prayer is one of the chief ways we show our reliance on God and are able to know him. Be sure to put your stock in what God values and rewards, and make sure you are living a life characterized by seeking God through prayer and fasting.
2. Compassion for the vulnerable
…Then the righteous will answer him, saying, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?” And the King will answer them, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:37-40)
The next amazing promise from God involves having compassion for the vulnerable. Compassion for our needy brothers and sisters by clothing, feeding, and welcoming them is seen by God as us clothing, feeding, and welcoming Christ himself. This is a magnificent picture of serving God and something God promises to reward.
3. Bearing insults and being excluded for the name of Christ
Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. (Luke 6:22-23)
It seems to be backwards for us to be told to “rejoice” and “leap for joy” when we are hated for being Christians. But that is exactly what Jesus says. He knows that persecution in his name brings promised blessing and rewards and glorifies the Father. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so great that, even when we are ridiculed on earth for it, we receive treasure in heaven.
What is your first reaction to persecution? If it is anything other than rejoicing, you have an incomplete view of who Christ is. Christ died for our sins to reconcile us to God and buy us eternal life, something that nobody and nothing can take away (Romans 8:38-39)!
4. Love for your enemies
But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. (Luke 6:35)
Just as Christians receive blessing from God for being insulted for the name of Christ, they receive blessing and rewards for loving the very ones who insult them. When we love our enemies, we emulate the kind of mercy and grace that our Savior showed to those who were crucifying him when he said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Christ showed the grace of the Father by loving his enemies and gives us the opportunity to show his grace and gain eternal rewards by doing so.
5. Generous giving
…Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
Giving to others is the fifth action God promises to reward. Every dollar you have, every material item you own, every skill you have is a gift from Almighty God. Knowing that all we have is a gift from God (James 1:17), why should we not seek to generously give to others, especially when we consider that this is an activity God promises to reward?
6. Hospitality that cannot be repaid
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:12-14)
There are many things in life that will not repay you here on earth, including the many times we are hospitable. But God does not overlook our efforts. He promises to reward us at the resurrection of the just for our hospitality in his name.
How does that change your attitude toward showing hospitality to others? How can you be more hospitable to in the future?
7. Endurance through pressures in ministry
For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)
If you have ever been discouraged in ministry, take heart. God promises to reward us for how we serve him on earth. Instead of falling into discouragement or depression, cling tightly to the promise that God will reward you for your trials and afflictions. Let that be fuel to propel you into a deeper trust and dependence on God as you serve him.
8. Quality work for your employer
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. (Colossians 3:23-24)
The gospel of Jesus Christ does not just penetrate personal and spiritual lives of believers, it enters into the workplace as well. When we do our best work for our employer, we are doing our best work for Jesus.
Working heartily for the Lord is one way to show him your gratitude for the amazing things he has given you in Christ. God will not let your effort go unnoticed, but promises to give you a reward for your labor.
9. Faithfulness through trials
…In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
God desires that we walk by faith at all times, and keeping faith during trials is no exception. Fighting for faith during such times is tough! But pressing on will prove your faith genuine and bring promised rewards from God.
10. Faithfulness to the truth
For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward. (2 John 1:7-8)
God deeply desires our full commitment to his truth. Jesus said he is the truth (John 14:6), so that makes sense! Our commitment and self-examination honors God and secures the reward that we will receive.
These 10 actions are all great investment opportunities. God tells you what will be rewarded, so go “all out” in living your life!
The greatest loss that any person could experience would be to stand in the presence of God without Jesus Christ and his righteousness, and therefore be unable to participate in the resurrection to everlasting life. Knowing Jesus Christ as your Savior and serving him as your Lord is worth any cost, because nothing is of greater value.
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