So maybe you have one of those credit cards where you earn cash back for your purchases. (I have that with my electric company – and since I live in South Texas, that’s a pretty fat annual check!) Or maybe you fly with points. (I fly Southwest – and we don’t get special lounges in airports, but I am getting to the Simply Youth Ministry Conference in Columbus for free this year!) Companies offer rewards programs because they want customer loyalty. If their rewards system sucks, they don’t achieve that goal.
Our family has been through the wringer in the past few years. We made some decisions that were costly. We knew going into those decisions that disobedience was the easier, more convenient, more lucrative option. We knew that obedience would cost us everything…and it has. And we never even questioned it. Not because the rewards plan was so amazing – because it usually isn’t.
People have created a beautiful rewards plan for obedience…but it’s usually a mirage to just help them endure the desert. You’ve heard of the system: “God rewards obedience” or “God is showing them favor because of their faithfulness” or “God will honor your faithfulness and has something amazing in store because of your obedience”. The truth is – usually obedience has a sucky rewards program.
There is no guarantee that being obedient will garner God’s favor or blessing. Being obedient will sting – and possibly become excruciating, unquenchable pain. The knowledge that you were obedient will sometimes be the only reward available to you – and by the time you reach that point, it will be of little comfort. And just because someone you know is living in a lap of luxury does not insure that they are lapping up the rewards of an obedient life.
Here’s a hard truth. The rewards system for obedience possibly will not have a benefit that you readily see. Probably there won’t be a check in the mail, the perfect job offer, or vindication that your choice was the right one. The reward only comes at the very end – ‘well done, good and faithful servant.’ God doesn’t hand out lollipops so we’ll keep coming back. He doesn’t have to.
Faithfulness is the reward. It will be recognized when your job is done. So regardless of what rewards program you find yourself part of this day…there’s another day coming, a pay-off on the other side of this life. Until then, hang on!! Because THAT rewards system blows everything else out of the water!