Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.
What Is It Worth?
What good will it do for those who pursue and acquire riches in this life only to lose their soul (Mark 8:36)? What can their money do when they forfeit their own eternity for the sake of something that will be useless in the kingdom? Can they exchange their money for their soul (Mark 8:37)? Of course not because whoever it is that seeks to save his or her life is surely going to lose it (Mark 8:35). So why not give as much as you can before you meet God? Remember the story of Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16? In this life, the rich man had everything he ever needed (Luke 16:25), and poor Lazarus only longed for the crumbs that would fall from the rich man’s table (Luke 16:20-21), but then both died. Lazarus was in paradise and had all he wanted for all eternity, but the rich man couldn’t even have so much as a drop of water while in torment (Luke 16:24). The man kept too much for himself and probably could have given at least something to the poor like Lazarus. He kept too much for himself and never shared with the poor. The rich man’s fate was sealed for all time with no hope for escape (Luke 16:26).
The Reward of Crowns
When we meet Christ for the judgment, not the Great White Throne Judgment reserved for those who have rejected Christ (Rev. 20:12-15) but for the rewards according to what each of us have done in this life, many of us will have wished that we’d kept less for ourselves and given more for the ministry of Christ. Every one of us will have to give an account for what we have and haven’t done in this life (Rom. 14:12). Remember that Paul was writing to believers, so this accounting is not for our sins, which were judged at the cross. Some will receive different crowns for their labor for the Lord, some for soul-winning, some for shepherding the flock, and yet others for enduring suffering (1 Thess. 4:19; James 1:12; Rev. 2:10; 1 Pet. 5:2-4). These are imperishable crowns (1 Cor. 9:24-27), crowns of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), crowns of glory (Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17), and the crown of life (1 John 2:25; James 1:12). Every one of our works will either be burned up or remain if they pass through the fire of God’s standard (1 Cor. 3:10-13). These are imperishable crowns that can never be taken away.
Regret or Reward?
When we meet Christ someday to receive our rewards or see our lack of rewards, we might think then, although it will be too late, that maybe we shouldn’t have kept as much as we did for ourselves. The Bible says that our rewards don’t come in this life but the next, so that should motivate us to be as generous as possible with our time, our talents, and our treasures, for at that time Christ will say to many, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21). For other believers, they will pale in comparison to those who, for example, endure suffering and persecution and give much of their wealth away, but the greatest rewards might be for “those who are wise [and] will shine like the brightness of the heavens… those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” (Dan. 12:3). I believe that’s what I want. What about you?
A Closing Prayer
God, help me to focus on the future and the eternal rewards, for they will last for all time, but all I have today will be burned up someday (1 Pet. 3:10). So why not keep at little as I can and give to help others, including the Lord’s ministry? I pray this in Jesus’ name.
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