Scripture is very clear about the fact that wonderful benefits await believers who obey and bring glory to God. In Psalm 19, David wrote that there is great reward in keeping the Lord’s precepts (Psalm 19:11). What’s more, the promise of heavenly gifts comes straight from Jesus Christ’s mouth in the Sermon on the Mount. (See Matt. 5:12.)
Reread today’s passage, and notice Paul’s assertion that he and Apollos would each receive rewards for their service to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:8). God neither offers group prizes nor reserves treasure only for those who work in ministry. We are all ministers of the gospel, whose good works store up heavenly treasure. God sees our Spirit-led decisions and actions as worthy of reward. You may not feel particularly important or essential in this big world, but your every action and word matter to God. What He values is the believer yielding to the Holy Spirit’s direction.
The motivation behind our actions is important too—sometimes good works are done for the wrong reasons. For example, Jesus revealed that some religious leaders were fasting to gain attention, not to please God (Matt. 6:16). When a person seeks the applause of men, their adulation is the sole reward. While this may feel good for a while, flattery is not eternal.
I suspect that one day we’ll all shed tears of regret over the righteous acts we neglected or the work we did for personal glory. We will realize how much more we could have done for the Lord. But then He will dry our tears and make us new, as He promised (Revelation 21:4-5).
Bible in One Year: Ezekiel 26-28