Christ will return and His return should motivate us to work hard and give sacrificially for the work of God. In the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19, Jesus essentially said that we are to remain occupied in working hard for His kingdom until He returns.
Read Luke 19:12-26. A nobleman left ten of his servants with money and instructions to invest it wisely while he was away. When the man returned, he found that some of the servants had worked hard to increase his wealth. For those servants, the man praised and rewarded them. "'Well done, my good servant!' his master replied. 'Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities'" (Luke 19:17).
But one servant hid the money away out of fear he would fail. For that servant, the master said, "'I will judge you by your own words, you wicked servant! You knew, did you, that I am a hard man, taking out what I did not put in, and reaping what I did not sow? Why then didn't you put my money on deposit, so that when I came back, I could have collected it with interest?' Then he said to those standing by, 'Take his mina away from him and give it to the one who has ten minas...I tell you that to everyone who has, more will be given, but as for the one who has nothing, even what he has will be taken away'" (Luke 19:22-24,26).
Like the servants in this illustration, there are two types of Christians: those who occupy themselves with God's work and those who do not. Which one are you? Are you taking advantage of every opportunity to witness for Christ? Are you being faithful with God's blessings and resources? Are you serving God with all of your heart and soul? Or are you like the servant who kept his resources to himself?
Like the hard-working servants who were rewarded, we will also receive our rewards in heaven. We cannot buy or work our way into heaven. Our salvation is only through Jesus Christ. However, what we do here on earth for God's kingdom will determine our reward in heaven. Paul explains, "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
During this life we will be refined with fire that will test us: are we laying a foundation of material wealth or of eternal blessings? Are we working for our own glory and comfort, or for the furthering of God's kingdom? When we pass through the refiner's fire, still seeking to honor God and bring Him glory, that work and dedication is going to shine like the sun. But if we only focus on what we can gain for ourselves in this life, our efforts will be nothing but smoldering ashes.
What does God want us to do until He returns? As Christians we are called to serve Him willingly and obediently to whatever He calls us to do. We are to witness to those who do not follow Christ, lovingly warn them of the coming judgment and joyfully share of God's love and plan of salvation. We are to equip and encourage our fellow believers so that they may also go forth and further God's kingdom.
What will you do with the opportunities that God has given you? Will you turn your back on them? Or will you joyfully give back to God in tithes, offerings, service, and praise to Him? We cannot out-give God. Whatever rewards we receive in this life are infinitesimal compared to what we will receive in the glory of heaven.
Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.
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