Here’s something that can make a difference in your day: Your faithfulness matters. Bigtime.
Consider just two reminders:
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.” — Matthew 16:24–27
So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. — 2 Corinthians 5:9–10
The idea of rewards often leads to a lot of consternation about our motives. But let’s acknowledge that God includes these reminders for a reason. As Tim Keller says, “Human beings are hope-shaped creatures. How you live today is shaped by what you believe about your future.”
To have a front-burner mindfulness that God rewards faithfulness is essential. It’s the renewed mind we need to conquer the pull to gratify the flesh. We make hard choices now — we die to self now — knowing our faithfulness on this earth will have eternal consequences. Not that we earn our way to heaven by our good works — only faith in Jesus’ work on the cross can save us — but our experience in heaven will be impacted by the way we live now. “Each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body…” 2 Corinthians 5:10.
It reminds me of the saying, “Start with the end in mind.” Actually, we want to start with two ends in mind: the end of that particular day as well as the end of all our days.
First, we know that being faithful today — seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness — will bring us joy today. At the end of the day, you can rest your head on your pillow and feel the joy of operating according to the way you’ve been designed — to glorify him.
And second, as I think about the end of my days — that Day when I’ll see Jesus face to face — I want to remember those beautiful words from the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14–30), “Well done good and faithful servant.” Doesn’t it bring tears to your eyes? Imagine him cupping your face in his hands and then pulling you in for an embrace. That’s the amazing reward promised to the faithful.
The thought of that Day, and all the days to follow — the pursuit of worldly pleasures pale in comparison. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” (Matthew 6:33). Is anything else worthy of the breath he’s given us?