When it comes to heaven and eternal rewards, I have heard some believers say, “Just as long as I get to heaven, that’s good enough for me.” But is that a proper attitude? Actually, it’s a very selfish attitude. According to the Bible, we are stewards of the grace of God (see 1 Peter 4:10; Ephesians 2:10), and therefore we owe it to our Savior to try to accomplish everything we can for His glory.
Throughout the New Testament there are several promises of reward for those who faithfully serve Christ. One such reward is what some call, ‘The Crown of Rejoicing.’
“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? For ye are our glory and joy.” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 KJV)
Paul had a great desire to share the gospel with as many people as possible and many of the churches of the New Testament existed because of his evangelistic effort. In some ways, even the churches that you and I belong to today are the results of Paul’s preaching. But Paul’s achievements did not come without a price. Consider some of the hardships Paul faced.
I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. (1 Cor 11:23-27 NIV)
What would motivate Paul to continually face such difficulty? For one thing, I am sure that he was committed to obey Christ’s command to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. (see Mark 16:15) Another reason was perhaps the personal joy he received from seeing people come to Christ. But according to today’s scripture, Paul also wanted to be found pleasing in his Savior’s sight.
Some call the Crown of Rejoicing the ‘Soul Winner’s Crown.’ Will the Soul Winner’s Crown be a literal crown that will be placed upon our head, or will it simply be the satisfaction of knowing that we were used by God to help others come to Christ? No one knows for sure, but either way it will be a great reward. “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? For ye are our glory and joy.”