You will be Rewarded

reward

One of the outspoken disciples of Jesus called Peter once raised a genuine question to his Master.

“We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” (Matt. 19:27).

For sure, some of the disciples of Jesus were already economically stable as fishermen before they were recruited into the business of fishing people. Some were tax collectors and formerly had opportunities to make as much money as they wanted through extortion.

But their calling, way of life, and perspectives changed when they encountered Jesus. They literally left EVERYTHING to follow Jesus (for the sake of Jesus). EVERYTHING included: houses, brothers, sisters, parents, children, and fields. To them, Jesus became the single greatest treasure that when the merchant found he went and sold everything he had to acquire it.

And so the question voiced by Peter was an expected concern. What will they gain in return? What will they gain in their giving?

It is very easy to condemn Peter’s question as a question from a materialistic heart. But if you bring this to our experiences you will realize that the question was a genuine one. You see, serving God and people is hard work. It demands commitment, sacrifice, hard work, and a lot of self-giving. It involves GIVING out your time, resources and even your life- everything!

True service isn’t a walk on a park; it involves hard work, self-giving, and emptying of self.

Sometimes you can serve and the people you serve (with) fail to appreciate your efforts. Sometimes you can faithfully serve and people fail to understand what you are doing. Sometimes you can invest you efforts in God’s work and nothing seems to be happening. Sometimes the overtime work you do or the work you perform behind the curtains goes unremembered.

And so the question remains, is following Jesus a loss? Is serving God a poor stewardship of life?

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, at the renewal of things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses, 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 (Matt. 19:27-29).

I think these very words from Jesus breathes hope and comfort! It is encouraging to know that there is ‘something for us’. The expectation of receiving something from God after surrender of our everything makes it worthwhile to serve/follow Jesus. So there is no loss in following Jesus! In fact surrendering all for Christ is an invaluable investment -for this life, and the life to come.

God’s promise to reward your labor of love is severally reiterated in the Bible:

….Always give yourselves to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Cor. 15:58).

a man reaps what he sows…Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Gal. 5:7,9).

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the true love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them (Heb. 6:10).

Keep on serving and keep on expecting God’s reward not men’s commendation.

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Attitude of Doubt Vs Attitude of Faith

faith and doubt

The wilderness experience in the book of Numbers was a profound learning experience to the Israelites. God taught them, formed them, and worked on them for forty years with a purpose of transforming them into a nation that is distinct and set apart for his holy purposes.

But their formation process was not without struggles. One area that they struggled with was the area of attitude transformation. They needed to put off old attitudes that naturally leads to failure and slavery and put on new attitudes that lead to success and freedom.

Their experiences remain relevant for us today in our spiritual walk with God.

Christian life is a life that should lead to holistic transformation. All our human faculties should be transformed by God’s word: mind, heart, affections, will, and emotions.

Biblically, our minds and the framework of our thinking should experience Christ’s transformation just like our hearts. Briefly, Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; and Philippians 2:6 “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”

Attitude of Doubt Vs Attitude of Faith 

In Numbers 13:26-33; 14:6-9, Moses had sent twelve spies to get some report on the Promised Land.

The entire group of spies came and confirmed, with a bunch of grapes, that the land was indeed “a land flowing with milk and honey” (Num. 13:26-27).

However, for the ten spies, there was a problem (Num. 13:28-29, 31-33): the people there were powerful, of great size, their cities large and fortified. The mighty descendants of Anak lived there and the land was also surrounded by Israel’s enemies.

In summary, they said something to the effect that the Canaanites were stronger; and so they can’t attack them. The following statement best summarizes not only their self-assessment but their attitude: “we seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them” (Num. 13:33b). In their minds, the battle was already lost before they entered the battlefield. No Canaanite called them a grasshopper. It was their self-view. This is a very awful attitude to possess. It didn’t stop with them. Negative attitude is very contagious. They infected the entire community with the same attitude (Num. 14:1-4). They doubted God and God’s promise that had been made earlier to the patriarchs that the land rightfully belongs to them.

On the other hand, only two spies (Caleb and Joshua) gave a positive report. After calming the people, they gave people hope and confidence. They said, “we should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Num. 13:30; 14:6-9).

Are there times you’ve been tempted to see how big the mountain is than how big God is? The truth is, Satan always tempts us to doubt God and his promises.

How can we deal with doubt? 

Develop an attitude of faith. An attitude that has confidence in what we hope for and assurance in what we do not see. Face reality with this posture of heart. Respond to some impossible circumstances not with despair, fear, or doubt but with trust in God. Allow circumstance of life not to shrink but stretch your faith. Face the future not with doubts but with the conviction that “the Lord is with me/us”. Doubt sees the obstacles, while faith sees the opportunities.

Choose faith… for we have been called to live by faith and not by sight.

Attitude of Rebellion Vs Attitude of Submission

authority

The wilderness experience in the book of Numbers was a profound learning experience to the Israelites. God taught them, formed them, and worked on them for forty years with a purpose of transforming them into a nation that is distinct and set apart for his holy purposes.

But their formation process was not without struggles. One area that they struggled with was the area of attitude transformation. They needed to put off old attitudes that naturally leads to failure and slavery and put on new attitudes that lead to success and freedom.

Their experiences remain relevant for us today in our spiritual walk with God.

Christian life is a life that should lead to holistic transformation. All our human faculties should be transformed by God’s word: mind, heart, affections, will, and emotions.

Biblically, our minds and the framework of our thinking should experience Christ’s transformation just like our hearts. Briefly, Romans 12:2 exhorts us: “but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”; and Philippians 2:6 “your attitude should be the same as that of Christ.”

Attitude of Rebellion Vs Attitude of Submission 

In every area of life God has established authority and authority structures to bring about order. He ordains specific leaders for specific tasks. In a family, church, at workplace, and in any nation God has established authority and put specific people to be stewards of power and authority.

But a natural tendency is to undermine those structures and them that occupy those positions of authority.

In the Exodus story, Moses was ordained by God as the lawgiver and prophet to the nation of Israel. But Moses’ brother (Aaron) and sister (Miriam) started to despise and talk ill about him.

Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?’ They asked. ‘Hasn’t he also spoken through us?’ (Num. 12:1-2).

In other words, Miriam and Aaron were claiming that they can as well perform the duties Moses was doing. And perhaps even do it better. They might have thought, ‘what Moses can do/say we can do/say it even better’. Perhaps in their hearts they conversed about their combined base of influence, popularity and fame as opposed to Moses. This was pride in disguise.

They had forgotten one thing: that it was not them but Moses that God chose and ordained for the task of delivering the nation of Israel from slavery.  God did not appear to Miriam or Aaron in a burning bush but to Moses. It is not to Miriam or Aaron that God revealed himself but to and through Moses.

Moses’ humility was misinterpreted as a weakness. His speech problem and the struggle with eloquence was mistaken with incompetency. And the two thought they can outsmart him anyway.

But here is the harsh truth, God in his wisdom “chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of the world and the despised things- and the things that are not- to nullify the things that are so that no one may boast before him” (1 Cor. 1:27-29).

God in his wisdom is free to use whomever he wishes for his holy purposes. He chooses the weak so that he may qualify. You don’t have to be perfect to be used of God. You only have to be a clean vessel. God delighted in speaking through Moses not because he was a perfect man free from flaws, failures or weaknesses but because he was humble and desired God’s power and presence more than anything else.

In comparing themselves with Moses they, Aaron and Miriam were getting it all wrong. Basically, they were trying to usurp Moses’ authority at the same time rebel God’s authority. As a result, the anger of the Lord burned against them. Talk of, an attitude of rebellion. It is sin (against God) to have wrong attitudes. It is sin to be rebellious. Rebellion is sin. A change of attitude is therefore desirable; an attitude that Moses had. We need to:

Develop an attitude of submission– We need an attitude that embraces God’s authority and respects those God has ordained in leadership. We may be better gifted, educated, experienced, and talented but that does not nullify God’s anointing on someone else. Moses did not have to fight those who were opposing him; he left the fight to God because he was submissive under God’s authority. A submissive attitude is an attitude that was in Christ. We explicitly see it when we read of his submission to human authorities even during his crucifixion and his submission to death. he had absolute powers to defend himself but did not. That is submission truly exemplified.

God desires that we develop right attitudes in life. Attitudes that can make us effective and productive in our walk with him. One of them is submissive attitude.