Parable of Rewards: Read Matthew 20:1-16
Verse 16 says “So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few chosen.” The parable is talking about rewards in heaven.
Jesus said: “I come quickly and my reward is with me.” There are five crowns. Immediately after the rapture of the church, saints will be decorated with crowns that match the fulfillment of their divine assignments.
In the world people are rated according to their social standing. In God’s kingdom it is not so. “And He said to them, ‘You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.’” (Lk 16:15 NKJV)
Some Christians rate themselves by the volume of activity they perform in the household of faith. I used to think the higher in the hierarchy of the church the greater the reward.
Unfortunately, some religious activities have nothing to do with the will of God for the performers. Some Christians rate themselves by how long they have been in ministry. God rates His servants by obedience related to divine mandate.
People who are born in Christian families sometimes assume that there is general elevation of such people compared to those born by unbelievers especially in areas that resist the gospel, which is not the case. God judges people on individual merit and not collectively.
Those who have been Christians for long assume that they will get greater regard than those who have just become Christian or even their converts. It is not always the case because in assessing the relevance of works regard is given to what one was appointed to do and not what we think is good to do or what the public applauds to be good.
John the Baptist died when he was thirty years. He was in ministry for a few years. Moses died at the age of one hundred and twenty years. He was in ministry for forty years. John the Baptist performed no miracle. Moses performed many breathtaking miracles. This is what Jesus said about ranking: “For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” (Lk 7:28).
Imagine that! The least saint in the kingdom is greater than all the Old Testament patriarchs, including Abraham, Moses and John the Baptist. It is a privilege in live in the church age.
Even among New Testament saints the basis for reward is not activity but obedience. There are many servants of God largely unknown to the world who will sit very close to Jesus in heaven by reason of being faithful to their calling.
Whatever you are called to do should be done with diligence. If you are called to be an evangelist but you decide to be a pastor and build the largest auditorium in the world, you may be shocked to see the effort burnt by fire at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
God’s expectation from His servants especially in this end-time period is to be WATCHFUL over needful things, READY for Christ’s second coming, be FAITHFUL in the area one is called and be FRUITFUL in soul-winning. Every Christian must strive to win souls to the Lord through person-specific gifting.
Some people think they can give things like money to God to make up for disobedience or half-obedience to His revealed will. Mankind has absolutely nothing to give to God. Otherwise, there would have been no need for God to incarnate in Jesus Christ. God is self-sufficient. He expects total obedience to His will and not works that attract public approbation but are unrelated to divine destiny.
Many are called into the Lord’s vineyard with differing assignments and timing but only those who are faithful to their specific assignment will be rewarded by the Lord. The key is to know what one is called to do and doing it without reference to what other people are doing. Comparing oneself to others is the sin of the flesh, which is pride. God hates it. Be yourself. At the Judgment Seat of Christ everyone will stand alone.
Those who are expecting more than they deserve by reason of activity may be disappointed on the Day of Judgment.
1 Cor 3:
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.
14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.
15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (NKJV)
Come, Lord Jesus!