So you think the more you do the more you receive from God? Some do more good works, give more money, and give more time. Some gather more people and have more meetings and services.
You think God is watching and saying to His Host, “Look at that busy little bee? They work longer and harder than them all. They’re going to get the largest pot of honey!”
Oh, bother… It’s not the way God works.
A Reward For Everyone
“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.” Matthew 16:27
Everyone has a reward to look forward to. Some have a reward due to righteous works and others for unrighteous works. The thought is that some will receive more than another. Yea, I thought that way too… once.
I thought a very wicked person would receive greater punishment than one who lived a good life. And that God has varying crowns for the righteous. That seems like justice, right? God’s idea of justice higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8–9).
There are only two rewards. There are no varying degrees of reward. There is one for the righteous and one for the unrighteous. So this still reconciles with Matthew 16:27.
It’s All In A Day’s Work
I thought not to put Matthew 20:1–16 here because it makes the article longer. But you must read it. So here it is.
“For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace, And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went their way.
Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise. And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? They say unto him, Because no man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive. So when even was come, the lord of the vineyard saith unto his steward, Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first. And when they came that were hired about the eleventh hour, they received every man a penny. But when the first came, they supposed that they should have received more; and they likewise received every man a penny. And when they had received it, they murmured against the goodman of the house, saying, These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day. But he answered one of them, and said, Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny? Take that thine is, and go thy way: I will give unto this last, even as unto thee. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Is thine eye evil, because I am good? So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.” Matthew 20:5–16, K
Summary? We have people hired to perform the same work for the same reward. Some arrived early and others arrived later. The problem? None with the householder for they agreed on the amount and the labor. But it didn’t seem fair for some to work longer than others and receive the same reward.
Is a penny not what they agreed on? You cannot argue about what you agreed to do and receive for it and about what another man does with their gift. Jesus told them the Father will reward everyone in each category the same, no matter what.
So, How Long Is The List Of Rewards?
How long is the list? Would you be shocked to know there is only one item on each list? I know, a believer in Christ is looking for Mansions, Crowns, and whatever else. Please, can I burst that bubble?
“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” John 14:2–3, KJV
What do you see here about the Father giving anyone a mansion? You think because someone invites you to their home they’re going to give it to you? Or give you a room in it? They will prepare a place for you to rest! But at some point, you will be leaving. And so will we because we’ll have our own home, the New Earth.
“But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Psalms 37:1
Okay, the rewards. For the righteous, eternal life with God. For the unrighteous, eternal separation from God, or eternal death. That’s it!
But, What About…
Mansions? Covered that above. Crowns?
“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.” Revelation 4:10–11
There will be no casting crowns for us but the twenty-four Elders. Our crowns are not literal, but spiritual and symbolic.
“And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” 1 Corinthians 9:25
“For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?” 1 Thessalonians 2:19
“Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8
“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” 1 Peter 5:4
These are not literal crowns to be thrown at the feet of Jesus like a graduate cap. These are symbolic tokens of the righteousness of the Child of God.
Worldly Culture Invading Spiritual Life
“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 1:11 KJV
Most of the doctrinal error we attempt to live by today is a mix of spiritual truth and worldly desire. That’s like oil and water and makes for error. If you want to live like the world, everyone is free to do so. Btw, ‘Core’ in the verse above speaks of Korah from Numbers, Chapter 16.
But if you believe in and want to like according to God’s Word, know for sure it does not resemble the world! Nor does it compromise with or caters to it.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” James 4:4
Do you think this verse is about sex? If you claim kinship with Christ, yet flirt and compromise with the things of the world, you commit adultery in the spiritual sense.
God Is Fair
Realize that God is fair and perfect and right in everything He does. Unlike us, God is impartial and never plays favorites. Nor will He treat anyone unjust, even if they reject His love.
God has one reward for every Child of His. All will share in it equally, together, at the same time, with no one with more or more favored than another. It will be the same with the unrighteous. They will all suffer the same judgment at the same time.
Those looking to have more, outdo, be more impressive are wasting their time, money, and efforts. Let me leave you with one more proof.
“Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. And when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation against the two brethren. But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:20–28 KJV
You want a greater reward, serve others, not serve yourself or have others serve you. Even so, the greatest reward is love and because of God’s love, He made eternal life possible for all. It’s your choice.