Suppose that gold, silver, and bronze medals would no longer be awarded at the Olympics. How would that affect the contestants? Some athletes would refuse to participate. Others wouldn’t train nearly as hard. Envisioning winning a gold medal is what motivates athletes to get through extremely grueling training. Some athletes train for hours every day for four years to run a 10-second race!
The Scriptures reveal that God will reward His faithful followers with something much greater than a gold medal. These eternal rewards are designed to motivate us to live correctly during our short stay on earth. They will not be given to every believer, but only to His children who have cheerfully sacrificed and served Him.
You only have a window of time to win them. Rewards can only be earned after you are saved—in the time-space between the moment of salvation and the day you die. I believe receiving these rewards will be thousands of times more exciting than winning an Olympic gold medal, and they will have something to do with our eternal assignments, which will be like special privileges. It’s hard for us to grasp, but winning a heavenly reward will actually improve your eternal experience!
God could have kept the truth about eternal rewards a big secret that would be revealed after we die. Instead, He told us about them to motive us to live for the next world. I’ve heard some Christians say, “I don’t care anything about rewards in heaven. Going to heaven is good enough.” Although that sounds humble, that statement is an insult to God and rejects everything He has revealed about rewards. Consider a few verses:
- “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (Matt. 5:12)
- “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
- “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great” (Luke 6:35)
- “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Cor. 9:24-25 NIV).
Always keep in mind that the Lord is watching your attitude, giving, and service to determine your position and assignments in the next life. We need to be more motivated to win these heavenly rewards than an athlete is to win an Olympic gold medal!
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