Ministers and preachers, in their zeal to preach the true Gospel frequently fail to encourage the Church with the promises given to us by the Lord. Just as the promises of blessing to those who generously give is not often discussed, neither are the wonderful promises of reward for those who labor in the Lord’s Church.
The great First Century theologian, the Apostle Paul, tells us that we must build only on the foundation of Jesus, and that whether you use costly materials or common materials (he is speaking metaphorically) each Christian’s work will be judged with fire on the great Day of the Lord. Paul says, “If what he has built survives , he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved . . .” 1
Because of the wonderful blood of Jesus, Christians will go to be with the Lord, but their rewards, once there, will depend on what they do while here in this world. Surely, a just God will reward the missionaries who gave their very lives in some primitive jungle more than one who accepts the free gift of salvation and then does nothing for the Lord or His Church. Please do not confuse the receipt of rewards for works done with the receipt of salvation through works. We cannot work our way into Heaven.
Jesus confirmed the rewards in the Parable of the Ten Minas 2. In this story a master went on a long journey. Before leaving he gave money to certain servants. Upon his return he demanded an accounting. Those who wisely used that which was given them were rewarded. In the Luke account, the servant who earned ten more minas was given authority over ten cities, and the one who earned five minas was given five cities.
The Apostle Paul tells us that the Church will judge angels and the world 3. Because “The Judgement” is reserved for the Lord, I think we will judge as did the Old Testament judges. They were like administrators settling civil affairs in most cases. Scripture tells us that the Church will return with the Lord Jesus and will reign with Him. Perhaps the Lord Jesus was telling us that the faithful servant would receive authority as administrator over ten cities in His Millennial Kingdom. I would suppose that there are further rewards in eternal Glory, but Jesus showed us that we must all be servants when He washed the feet of the Disciples. We will have wonderful rewards based upon our wise use of what has been given us here in this world, but I think we will still serve in some capacity.
To whom much is given, much is expected 4. Do not work as if to achieve salvation, but work out of love for the Lord and His Gospel. Do not be one who is saved “as one escaping through the flames 1.” Work for the Lord. There are many promises of blessing, now and in eternity.
1 - First Corinthians 3:10-15
2 - Luke 19:12-26
3 - First Corinthians 6:2-3
4 - Luke 12:48b