The Godly and Pure Motivations for Ministry
– The Importance of God’s Reward
The following verses in Hebrews 11 demonstrates the real importance of faith as a means to obtain God’s promised reward, as it states “But without faith, it is impossible to please him (God) for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that HE IS THE REWARDER OF THEM that diligently seeks him” (Hebrews11:6). The common meaning of the verb remunerate is to recompense in money, to pay (for a job or someone for work); while the adjective rewarding is defined as: something, which pays well, which procures benefits.
Hebrews 11:6 could then be translated as follows, “… for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that HE IS THE ONE WHO REWARDS OR RECOMPENSES those that diligently seek him.” This verse underlines the importance of divine reward as a legitimate motive for a disciple. It is evident that to please God, one must acknowledge him as the REWARDER, or the benefits provider for those who diligently seek Him, or who are seeking to accomplish his purpose (Psalm 1; Psalm 10:1-2).
This truth becomes more apparent later in the same chapter, as the Holy Ghost describes Moses actions in this way “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer afflictions with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ “GREATER RICHES” than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto the “RECOMPENSE OF THE REWARD.” (Hebrews 11:23-26). Just like Jesus then, Moses was motivated by divine reward.
Isaiah 52:3 and numerous Scriptures identify Christ as the SERVANT OF GOD. Even with the disciples, Christ BEHAVED AS A TRUE SERVANT, though Master of everything (Mark 10:40-45). In humility and obedience, He accomplished the work entrusted to him by his Father. He made multitude disciples, whom he won for God’s cause and purpose, and He gave his life in sacrifice for sin. We can appreciate the boldness of his faith, as he asked of his heavenly Father the PROMISED REWARDS: his glorification and that of his “brothers” at the Father’s right hand (Isaiah 53:11-12; John 17:4-7; Hebrews 2:5-11; Hebrews 12:1-3).
– The Rewards of the Servant of Christ
God’s will is to glorify all disciples who will serve Him, even as his Son did (Romans 8:28-30; Hebrews 2:9-11). When Jesus knew that his time was at hand and that he had to leave this world, he said the following to his followers: “The hour has come that the Son of man should be glorified. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a grain of wheat fall in the ground and die, it abideth alone but if he dies, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me let him follow me and where I AM, here shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honor” (John 12:23-26).
The declaration above reveals the sacrifices and the sufferings, which precede “True Success” in any Christian disciple’s life and ministry. This statement also reveals that divine honor is reserved for those who will accept and practice self-denial on a voluntary basis in order to serve and please the Lord wherever He would lead them. This great reward, promised by God, is nothing less than the sharing of his glory and power with Christ. By saying “Where I am, there shall also my servant be”, the Lord’s is referring to His throne and authority to be shared with victorious disciples, at the establishment of his visible kingdom for one thousand years upon his physical return on earth.
In Revelation 2:26, the victorious Christ declares to the disciples of Thyatira “And he that overcometh and keep my works unto the end, of him will I give power over the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers, even as I received of my Father …”
Addressing the Laodiceans, the Lord is even more precise as He declared “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame and am sat down with my Father in his throne.” So, it is of believers to realize upon his coming, His throne will be for the faithful disciple who dedicated himself to carry his cross to the end!
– The Workings and Effects of the Reward Principle
To hold fast to Christ’s works is to overcome. For Jesus, to overcome simply means to keep the faith, to persevere in the assignment of God, to keep on doing his works even as He, Jesus, kept the works of his Father. Throughout the ages, God’s promised rewards constituted an important part of his servants’ motives. From Abel to Moses, we can trace that those who sought to obtain God’s promises, in spite of sufferings and sacrifices, always pleased God (Hebrews 11:6). To Peter who had forsaken everything (family, business, properties) to follow Christ, the Lord declared not only will they be rewarded in all things now in this life but they will be recompensed even more in the life to come (Mark 10:29-30; Luke 18:28-30).
In God’s kingdom, humility always precedes glory and persecutions because of faith in Christ precede joy and triumph. Aware of these spiritual principles, Paul, a champion for the Gospel, wrote these words in his second letter to the Corinthians “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, for the THINGS WHICH ARE SEEN ARE TEMPORAL, but the things which are NOT SEEN ARE ETERNAL” (2Corinthians 4:17-18). For Paul, who endured much for Christ’s sake, the afflictions were great, yet as compared to the eternal weight of glory to come (his reward); he had to call them light.
– They that Sow in Tears Shall Reap in Joy
Hope of divine reward is a true anchor for the soul. Spiritual insight beyond circumstances is activated by God’s promised rewards. This principle is in fact at the roots of the Christian Faith: it is called hope. Without hope of reward, believers would certainly become bitter and miserable. That is the reason why Paul said “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (1Corinthians 15:19). One may say if there are no rewards for afflictions or sacrifices for the Gospel or for being a faithful follower of Christ “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” Consistently, Scripture teaches that erosion of hope affects faith and produces bitterness and a profane life. That is why believers should avoid fellowshipping with non-believers, but rather keep company with people of the same faith and hope in Christ. This is very essential; believers are to exhort and encourage one another in their walk in Christ and influence one another to obey God’s word, without doubt and double mindedness, but with full conviction and confidence of heart. This constitutes the primary reason for personal testimonies of the saints (1Corinthians 15:33-34; Heb.12:14-17).
The Lord Jesus, at the Garden of Gethsemane, knew that He was soon to suffer atrocious pain and an agonizing death on the cross. He knew also that disarray and profound sadness will overtake his disciples; so He addressed them in the following manner “A woman, when she is in travail, hat sorrow, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world” (John 16:21). In the New Testament the reward of a servant of Christ is typified by five kinds of crowns: The imperishable crown (1Corinthians 9:24-26), The crown of life (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10), The crown of righteousness (2Timothe 4:8), The crown of glory (1Peter 5:4), and The crown of rejoicing or crown of joy (1Thessalonians 2:19).
Now then, the cross, if well understood, though an instrument of pain, shame and death, is for a disciple an instrument of glory and praise. It is only through the cross that resurrection life is given, and it is only through the cross that one is free from the power of the flesh and can access the power of the Spirit. Finally, the cross is also an instrument of purification and refinement of character and the greater is your cross the greater is your reward!