Read His Words Before Ours!
I sat in the parking lot for five more minutes, thinking to myself, “I’m not ready to go in.” I really disliked that place, my job. While I tried to do my best work, my heart just wasn’t in it, and it felt like drudgery.
Move forward to Sunday morning, and you’d see me cheerfully awake at 7:30 am, getting ready to serve in Children’s Ministry at church. There was no sitting in the parking lot with dread in my heart. Instead, I was full of anticipation and joy because I considered it kingdom work.
My perspective on my less-than-appealing job changed radically when I encountered Colossians 3:23-24,
“Whatever you do,
do it from the heart,
as something done for the Lord and not for people,
knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord.
You serve the Lord Christ.”
I came to understand that all of our work can be kingdom work, whether or not it happens within the walls of a church. We carry the Holy Spirit within us (1 Corinthians 3:16), and therefore we represent Christ always.
When we give of our time to a ministry or our church, it’s kingdom work.
When we go to our place of employment, it’s kingdom work.
It’s so easy to separate the “now” from the “eternal.”
But they are intertwined. . . through kingdom work.
Our now affects our eternity.
And our eternity should inform our now.
Let’s talk about eternity. Throughout the Bible, God reminds us eternal rewards await us in heaven. (Romans 2:6, Hebrews 11:6) The reward of heaven itself is unbelievable, but our gracious and abundant God offers even more!
Heaven is not tied to our work, but to Jesus’ finished work on the cross. However, other rewards are directly related to our earthly efforts, and therefore, our eternity should directly impact how we live in the present.
The Bible identifies five crowns we can receive as eternal rewards, each for different work believer’s have done during life on earth.
First is the crown of victory.
According to 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, this crown blesses those who are disciplined in their spiritual lives.
How can we practice discipline?
We can begin by consistently reading, studying, and obeying God’s Word. The more we commit to these disciplines, the more the Lord will grow them in us! ( James 1:22-25)
Next, let’s maintain a posture of gratitude.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us to give thanks, always.
My final suggestion is to be generous with our resources, time, and talents (2 Corinthians 9:6-8, 1 Peter 4:10). Let’s bless others out of the overflow of God’s incredible generosity to each of us! Sisters, I believe every Christ-follower can earn this crown of victory!
The second crown is the crown of life.
This crown is given to those who tenaciously hold onto their faith and persevere through trials. (James 1:12)
I’d love to say my aforementioned hated job would fall in this category, but I believe this speaks of much greater struggle. I can’t say in my now, I’d want this crown, but ladies, if God ordains this crown for us, let us win it well.
Next comes the crown of rejoicing.
This crown is given to those who have rejoiced in the salvation of others. We wear this crown if we have shared the gospel and helped build and celebrate biblical community Have you shared your testimony to help win someone to Christ and make a disciple? Have you told someone about the goodness of God and how they can have assurance of heaven? Then, this crown will be rewarded in Heaven! (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20)
The crown of glory is for pastors, elders, and church leaders, an eternal recognition of the special sacrifices made by those who devote their lives to serving the church. (1 Peter 5:1-4)
Finally, the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:6-8) blesses those who lived completely sold out for Jesus, always expectant of His return. I pray we all shift our focus to eternity so we might win this crown.
We are called to give ourselves away for the glory of God and for the advancement of the kingdom.
With Jesus ever before us and His Holy Spirit guiding us from within,
our eternal calling can be lived out in the now.
When we’re tempted to skip our time in His Word,
when we consider compromise to avoid ridicule,
when fear threatens to silence our sharing of the gospel,
or hold us back from the role to which He’s called us,
let’s remember this narrow road, while sometimes hard in the moment, brings eternal reward and ultimately, greater glory to God.
May we keep the vision of our crowns offered back to our Father in praise before us as we go about living in the now with eyes for eternity.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!