“Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.” 2 John 1:
It is possible to work your whole life for God, and end up with it not mattering at all. It is possible to work and do many great works for the Kingdom and for someone else to take the credit and the reward. It is possible to lose your reward, through some failing that over-arches the work you have done. It is possible to work for God and find out at the end, when it faces the fire, that it is worthless. We must constantly examine our motives and our single-mindedness in the work given to us, so that we do not lose the reward.
God tells us to “…prove our own work, then you will have glory in yourself alone, and not in another.” Galatians 6:4
God lifts His people above their sinful state, and makes them kings and queens in His mighty eternal empire. God does not think of us as pawns in His game, but precious daughters and sons and servants who will serve Him in great joy eternally. Do we also have this viewpoint, or are people just there to fill the spaces in our personal vision?
The idea of “using” people is a curious stand-point and the idea that God “uses” people is rather unattractive. We use tools in our daily lives, but “using” people is not acceptable. God does not use His people, but lifts them up to high service for Him. This means humility and submission to His holy will and purposes, but that does not make God a “user.” Those who serve with all their beings, are laying up an eternal treasure, that no one can touch. Recognition in this life is almost always detrimental and our singleness of purpose easily becomes tarnished.
It is too easy to get the idea that we can “use” people to further the ends of our own ideas, with no thought for the bigger picture.
There is a tendency in some people to take credit for something they haven’t done. There can be dishonesty in the way we go about our ministry, and plagiarism in spiritual work happens just as in other areas of life. Gifts are used and hi-jacked and so pride and conceit come into ministry and hurts many. It seems that in the drive for results, anything goes, and honesty goes out the window. It is crucial that our work happens as we follow God and teach His Word, not our own ideas, or someone else. The encouragement is to hold on, persevere and follow God’s ways.
It can often seem that the individual does not matter in the organization of the church, and all too many never get to exercise their abilities in the church setting. Little is done to encourage people, and many give their abilities to secular work, where they are acknowledged and valued. This seems often true of women, who are left sitting in the pews and labeled “optional extras.” The activity centers around the men and with the people who seem to be in charge and decide all that happens and how it happens. Too many lose their reward by just being left out. Every Christian has to examine this issue and how they are going to respond to it.
Do I take the view that the church authorities are “ordained by God” and therefore I must just do what they say, and it will be ok? We don’t have to look too far to see a whole plethora of churches where self-interest and pride are the rulers of hearts. So what do I do? God gives abilities, and we are responsible. What path will I take, and who is trustworthy and has truly spiritual attitudes and desires? In these godless and complacent days, it is very confusing. We each must examine our selves and situation.
“I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.” Revelation 3:11
Whatever God has called us to do for Him, we stick at it and pursue the objective to the end. We must hold on to our labours and keep faithful to the calling, right to the end, so that no one else will get the reward. We hold on to Christ, so that our salvation is complete. I am ruled by God’s will and not my desires to improve my Christian career. Service is lonely and unsung in this life, but it is also a protection that keeps our hearts from pride.
“work out your own salvation with fear and trembling? for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:12-13
Every Christian is responsible for the outworking of God’s will in their lives and to act to fulfill His eternal purposes. If we succumb to another will other than God, then we loose our individual, spiritual life walking with God, and miss the joy of close fellowship with Him. We must not let others confuse and confound what God wants to do in our lives. We are answerable to God and for the gifts He gives us.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
Again this verse stresses the importance of keeping going and maintaining personal discipline and stamina in the Christian life and work. It is easy to become discouraged and undermined in what you are doing. This is a universal experience and requires maturity to overcome. Whatever we feel or think we know, the Lord requires that we don’t give up. Stick with His vision and He will show you the way through. Immerse your mind and soul in the Word of God and be diligent in prayer, and he will keep you, no matter how discouraging your circumstances might be. You will gain clarity and wisdom, as He promises. Then there will be a harvest and we will enjoy the first-fruits with Christ.
Hold on to your crown, so that on that great and beginning, eternal day of the everlasting Kingdom, we will have treasures to lay at His feet with great joy….