A STRANGER AND I TOOK HIM IN…..
“He’s gone to his eternal reward.”
Sounds great, doesn’t it. The phrase is mentally soothing. . .emotionally comforting and spiritually authoritative.
The phrase is the religious way of saying that someone has gone to heaven.
As best as I can tell. . .the phrase was first written by the author James Joyce in his book The Sisters which was published in 1905.
Now don’t get me wrong. . .I’m not belittling the meaning of the expression.
Nor am I minimizing the ultimate reward we receive as a born-again Child of God. . .the privilege, honor and blessing of being able to spend eternity in His presence.
However, there are seven reasons why my reward is more than a one-way trip to heaven.
1. If you give to or do for others. . .you will be paid for it. . .that’s your immediate reward.
Mark 9:41 says:
“For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.”
According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word for reward is misthos (G3408) and it means:
“dues paid for work, wages, hire”
This is obviously the same kind of wages that an employer would pay an employee for working.
In other words, you’re on God’s payroll because He is going to pay you wages for helping those in need.
What should we do with this scripture … if our only reward is in heaven? Mark 10:29,30 says:
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel's,
But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.”
2. If you’re do good to your enemies. . .you will be paid for it. . .that’s your immediate reward.
Luke 6:35 says:
“But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
Some interpret this scripture as saying God will only be paying you wages in heaven which prompts a question on my part.
Why? Do we need money in heaven? This is the same word reward used in scripture above which means “wages.”
Have you ever won a trip. . .where your transportation (air fare) was already paid, your transfers (to the hotel where you will stay) were included, your meals are provided for, your entertainment is included, your room service is without charge, your trips to the spa included and your tips were already covered?
It’s all inclusive vacation to paradise. If you haven’t … someone you will get one.
Here are seven reasons why heaven is an all-inclusive trip to paradise.
1. Your airfare. . .is the rapture.
2. Your transfers. . .to your mansion is fully escorted.
3. Your meals. . .were planned 2,000 plus years ago. . .at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
4. Your entertainment. . .is being in the presence of a true Celestial star.
5. Your room service. . .is provided by heavenly housekeeping.
6. Your trips to the spa for relaxation. . .are not needed because you will no longer have aches and pains or will you ever worry about your skin anymore. . .it’s all perfect.
7. Your tips and gratuities . . .were paid for by you by your obedience to Him while on planet earth.
3. The Bible also indicates that you will be paid for your good deeds in the resurrection.
Luke 14:14 in the New Living Translation says:
“Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
You’re probably thinking. . .this verse proves that you’ll be paid in heaven for your good works here on earth. . .the good things you done. . .the people you’ve led to the Lord.
“Yes, Brother Harold, we’ll have stars in our crown. That’s how God will pay us.”
I remember being taught that very thing as a boy. . .and for most of my life. It sounds great. . .wonderfully spiritual. . .but it’s just not what the Word says.
The Bible ‘might’ loosely imply we will receive a crown. In Revelations 4:4 and again in 4:10, the 24 elders who rule and reign with God are crowned. And they give them back to God… so they no longer have crowns. But no one else is mentioned having a crown except the Lord Himself.
4 “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”
10 “The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne….”
The point is … who needs a crown? We will be living in Paradise with every need fulfilled. If some Christian feels that a crown will make his or her life complete, I’m sure God will allow them to be blessed with a crown.
Our reward is not based on our work. . .but our faithfulness.
Luke 19:17 in the New Living Translation says:
“And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities.’”
In every translation of this verse. . .you will see the reward is because of faithfulness. In most translations, the verse says that we will be given “authority.”
4. When you don’t live in fear. . .you will be paid for it.
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”
The Hebrew word for reward in this verse and 24 over verses is the word sakar (H7939) and it means:
“hire, wages, reward, pay; fare, fee, passage-money.”
Exodus 2:9 says:
“And Pharaoh's daughter said unto her, Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give thee thy wages. And the women took the child, and nursed it.”
The word wages is the same Hebrew word for reward.
Let me share with you three other verses that use the same Hebrew word sakar.
Numbers 18:31 says:
“And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.”
2 Chronicles 15:7 in the Amplified Bible says:
“Be strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak and slack, for your work shall be rewarded.”
Ecclesiastes 4:9 says:
“Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.”
5. When you treat others. . .the way He wants you to treat them. . .you will be paid.
Matthew 10:41 says:
“He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.”
The word reward appears twice in this verse and it’s the Greek word misthos (G3408) and once again it means:
“dues paid for wage, wages, hire.”
It’s the same Greek word also used in Mark 9:41 and Luke 6:35.
The Amplified Bible translation of Matthew 10:41 says:
“He who receives and welcomes and accepts a prophet because he is a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward, and he who receives and welcomes and accepts a righteous man because he is a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward.”
6. You will be paid. . .for your faith. . .just like Abraham.
Romans 4:3-5 says:
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Once again, according to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word for reward in this verse is misthos (G3408). Are we beginning to see a pattern here? As before, the Greek word means:
“dues paid for work, wages, hire”
The Message Bible translation of Romans 4:3-5 says:
“For the Scriptures tell us, `Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.’ When people work, their wages are not a gift, but something they have earned. But people are counted as righteous, not because of their work, but because of their faith in God who forgives sinners.”
You are rewarded for your work
1 Corinthians 3:7-9 says:
“So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase. Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.”
You guessed it. . .it’s the same Greek word G3408.
One more scripture.
1 Timothy 5:18 says:
“For the scripture saith, thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.”
1 Timothy 5:18 in the Message Bible says:
“Give a bonus to leaders who do a good job, especially the ones who work hard at preaching and teaching. Scripture tells us, "Don't muzzle a working ox" and "A worker deserves his pay."
Does that sound like the sweet bye and bye. . .not it says like now.
7. When you do everything as unto the Lord. . .you will be paid.
Colossians 3:23-24 says:
“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”
According to Strong’s Concordance the Greek word for reward is antapodosis (G469) and it means:
“recompence, to reward or repay someone”
The word recompense is used as three different Greek words but all of them are defined as money being paid back.
The Amplified Bible translation of Colossians 3:23-24 says:
“Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men, Knowing [with all certainty] that it is from the Lord [and not from men] that you will receive the inheritance which is your [real] reward. [The One Whom] you are actually serving [is] the Lord Christ (the Messiah).”
Final thoughts. . .
Let me be very clear. . .
Heaven is the ultimate reward for every born-again believer. . .I’m not questioning nor minimizing that glorious truth.
However, I am saying that my reward. . .your reward. . .is much more than a one-way ticket to heaven.
Our reward is also to be enjoyed right now. . .that’s not just my opinion. . .it’s the Word of God.
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