I want to talk about a mistake that we all make from time to time. It’s a little lie that Satan whispers in your ear (isn’t that how it always starts?!) that turns into a catastrophe. What is that lie?
That God owes us something.
Looking at it like that, it seems pretty absurd, but Satan can present it to us in a way that makes sense to us. Let’s look at the lie first. This lie (there are many, but let’s try to keep our focus on this one for now) claims that when we do something good, that we should be rewarded by God. Now, in our culture, this makes sense. We do something praise-worthy–well, we get praise! We get something that deserves a reward–and we get rewarded! Shouldn’t God reward us when we are righteous?
To correct that line of thought, let’s look at a reference from Matthew 6:2 (NIV):
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”
The first half is saying that, when you do a good thing, don’t tell everyone about it so that you can be praised and receive rewards and admiration. Shouldn’t the purpose behind doing a good thing be doing it in the first place, not to be praised? The second half of the verse says: “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” What this means, basically, is that they received their reward when they were praised for those few moments. They won’t receive reward for that in heaven, unlike when you do a good thing with unselfish desires and without proclaiming it. That is the way to go about helping others or whatever good thing you do.
Now, here’s the thing–I said reward in heaven, right? What about the lie, about God owing us something? Well, let’s start by turning that around and looking at it the other way–what do we owe God? Let’s see…shall I list a few reasons?
1. He created us!!! We’d be nothing if not for Him, literally!
2. Every time we’ve sinned, He has forgiven us. Don’t lie–we’ve sinned a lot. God’s been very patient with us!
3. (this one’s very important) He sent His Son to die for us, saving us from our sins. Wow.
4. He loves us with never-ending love! Literally never-ending!
I could keep going, with five-six-seven-eight…you get the point–there are so many ways that we owe something to God! And the best part is? Aside from believing in and following Him, He doesn’t expect anything in return. Isn’t that amazing? Our God is a wonderful God!
So, back to the beginning. I hope it’s obvious now that we won’t (always!) be rewarded here on this earth for our good deeds. But we are heaping up rewards in heaven! God is wise. Our life on this earth is short; isn’t it better to enjoy our rewards eternally, with Him?
A Lamp For Our Feet