Diligence is not something that comes naturally to anyone, it is a result of deliberate development of a strong character. Proverbs 21:5 says: The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. By working hard with methodical patience, we can profit from it; just as the opposite will lead to poverty. Those who wait around for everything to just fall in their laps will be sadly disappointed when nothing happens.
Peter is very clear about what is waiting for the sinful man in 2 Peter 2:17, These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. You cannot expect reward when all you do is evil.
Doing the right thing can sometimes feel very lonely. Paul says in Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. When we do the right thing, we always have an audience and when the audience is God, it’s the only one we need.
It is not our place to question who God allows to be blessed differently than us. If God chooses to allow others to be rich and us poor, we should be content because He still provides for all our needs. In the end, it is up to God to decide. In Matthew 20:16 Jesus says, “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” This is not a guarantee, but a promise. Our reward on earth pales in comparison to what is in store for us in heaven. For this reason it is more important for us to work on eternal versus earthly reward.
We must be strong in all we do and how we approach serving God while we are on this earth. Hebrews 10:36 says, You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. God loves us and wants us to have a relationship with us that results in a fulfilled life. God’s reward for being faithful to Him results in us receiving His promises.
As a reminder, this year we are reading the New Testament in Chronological order based on the date of events recorded along with when certain books were written. The book of Acts covers most of the New Testament time period. As we read certain books we come back to the book of Acts to tie the books together. Paul is the main character through most of the letters in the New Testament, but he is not the only one.
In today’s reading we see what happened to Paul when he returned to Jerusalem. While he tried to be respectful of the Jews and maintain the laws of purification, they still falsely accused him of stirring up trouble and even bringing Gentiles into the temple, which would have been a desecration of the temple..
One of the great lessons here is this: While Paul tried to do the right thing, he still suffered. We cannot assume because we do the right things we will be saved from suffering in this life. When we live our lives in such a way that is honoring to God, evil will still be present and most likely very active, but that should not deter us from doing what is right and honoring to God. Our reward is in eternity and in the relationship we are blessed to have with God.
We should give everything with the same generosity Christ gave to us and we should be willing to give it all back, knowing our reward is already set for us in eternity. 2 Corinthians 9:6 reminds us, Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Just like a good investment, when we give fully, we have the potential to receive fully as well. Sometimes we feel our return on an investment is not what we expected, but we must remember where and when our reward comes from.
Following Jesus takes some sacrifice. It is not always apparent how much we are called to sacrifice, but when the time comes, if we are faithful, our reward is great. In Matthew 19:29 Jesus says, And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. Ultimately, our reward is not in this life but in heaven. Holding onto earthly rewards, while fulfilling in the moment, does not last. We should always strive for rewards that last through eternity.
Before we knew Christ we made choices as though life on this earth is all there is. But as believers, this life is just an introduction to the life God has intended for us in eternity. In Matthew 16:26 Jesus said, What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? The possessions we gain in our life on earth has no value in eternity. We must learn to evaluate all we do in the light of eternity.
The video below is the depiction of Jesus calling Peter to follow Him from the movie “Son of God”. The clip shows how Jesus does not call us to follow Him empty handed. Jesus wants to bless us and give us what we need for a full existence. God did not create us for a sub-par life. His desire is that we live our lives to the absolute fullest.
If you ever come across anything you’d like me to post on this blog, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.