reward

Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. – 1 Corinthians 9:24 (NRSV)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:14 (NRSV)

What’s our reward for doing good things? For doing the right thing?

I don’t think a lot about heaven. In my life, that’s just too far away. Other than the ordinary risks of living, I’m not looking death in the face every day.

This wasn’t the circumstance for the Corinthians and Philippians. Being a believer was dangerous. Paul had looked death in the face and survived several times when he wrote these letters. He bore the risks of faith on his body.

But for those of us who live in the suburbs, where life is quiet, the streets are safe, and we can freely go to church (or not), death is a little more removed. And so is heaven and our need for it. What, then, is our prize? What is our reward for faithful living?

Sometimes we are rewarded by the knowledge that we have helped someone else. We might even be able to share in their joy. Many times, however, doing the right thing earns us nothing.

If we act justly, we may be going against the culture by speaking truth about our unjust systems and broken community, which is never popular.

If we love mercy, it likely means that we yield something of ourselves, or what we think we’re due, on behalf of someone else.

If we walk humbly, we choose to submit ourselves to God’s authority and not seek our own kingdoms.

Every time, justice, mercy, and humility will ask something of us because every time we have the option of choosing ourselves instead. #Micah6 #love Click To Tweet

Every time, justice, mercy, and humility will ask something of us because every time we have the option of choosing ourselves instead. Of choosing a reward we can enjoy now. I can’t say I do good things because of heaven for heaven isn’t something I can earn. It’s not a reward I can win.

Paul may have been talking about heaven when he wrote these words, but maybe he was talking about being one with Christ. For he has made it clear that suffering is real in this world but just as real is the peace we find in Jesus.

We don’t do the good and right thing because someday we die. We do the good and right thing because today we get to live. #Jesus #love Click To Tweet

We don’t do the good and right thing because someday we die. We do the good and right thing because today we get to live. And if I’m going to live – really live, not just go through the motions – I’m going to choose to love and risk for what I believe in. In doing so, I find myself closer to Jesus, which is really what heaven is about anyway.

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Every Friday, I receive a word prompt and five minutes to write. Read more Five Minute Friday posts here.

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3 Thoughts to “reward”

  1. […] However, I think the psalmist is calling us to an awareness of the finitude of life. We will have our wasted days, but we should not have too many of them. We should live with purpose and on purpose. […]

  2. I love your take on this. I agree, as we do the good and right thing we become closer to Jesus and we get to know the joy of him working in us and through us.

  3. I am rereading that last thought: “We do the good and right thing because today we get to live.” How lovely is that? Thanks for this reminder 🙂

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