Friday, January 16, 2009


I occasionally tell my children if you do "x" you will receive "y" as a reward. For example, my son is currently reading a book on the high end of his reading ability for a guinea pig harness. (for his soon to be purchased guinea pig) The whole reason that I told him about the reward was to motivate him to tackle something he would have not likely done on his own.

That got me thinking about rewards in the Bible. Here are some examples from Jesus' teaching:

1. Giving to the poor in private will be rewarded by God (Matthew 6:4)
2. Receiving a righteous person will receive reward of righteous person (Matthew 10:41, Mark 9:44)
3. Reward from Jesus based on what you have done in this life (Matthew 16:27)
4. Suffering for Christ will receive great reward (Luke 6:24)
5. Doing good for enemies will receive great reward (Luke 6:35)
6. Faithful servant in charge of many things (Matthew 25:21)
7. Do well before the king comes back to be entrusted with more when he returns (Matthew 25)

I am sure that there are more, but you get the idea.

So my question is this:
Why do so many Christians believe that it is wrong to work toward a reward? I understand that we should be motivated by love. But if God didn't want us to think about a reward at all then why mention it? Jesus does rebuke people for working toward a reward from people. But I can't remember anywhere that teaches against working toward a reward from God. I think God mentions rewards so that we will work toward them. What do you think?


JR said...

I think the problem comes in when folks believe that the reward for good works is Salvation. We understand that a person can not work their way into heaven. There are those that teach otherwise.

The bible does state many times in the New Testament that there are many different rewards in Heaven. The cool thing is that the more Christ Like someone becomes through thoughtful prayer, study, and listening for the will of God, the more they naturally do the things that earn the greatest reward.

Applied Christianity said...

Nice to see you on my side of the blogosphere.

I think you are right. People start to worry when we start talking about rewards that we will get sucked into the whole working your way to Heaven craziness.

I also think that you are very right that the more Christ-like we become on the inside the more we will be the body of Christ to the world.

Raymond V Banner said...

I do not consider my earthly or spiritual accomplishments to merit a great deal of future rewards in God's kingdom. Sometimes, in fact, I wonder why I am not more highly motivated to seek and desire such rewards as your little essay, Frances, and the Scriptures clearly teach that we should pursue and build up such future kingdom rewards during our earthly life.

I do desire to live a Christian life of devotion and closeness to the Lord, of personal righteousness, and of service to others. I think J.R. is correct in stating "that the more Christ like someone becomes through thoughtful prayer, study, and listening for the will of God, the more they naturally do the things that earn the greatest reward."

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