Scripture

2 Timothy 4:6-8

6 For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Reflection

We live and make decisions in view of the glorious appearing of Christ and the reward that is in store for His faithful. God is going to fulfill what he said. Paul lived for the reward and received the tangible benefits of the reward everyday. Our endurance is dependent on living in view of the promises of God. His glorious appearing that will come. The reward in store which isn’t just for later but right now. 

We’re often incentivized in life by rewards. I used to get an allowance if I did all of my chores around the house. There isn’t a connection between the amount of money and the work being done but it was enough incentive to want to work. Most of the rewards in the world work this way. There is no clear connection between work and reward. The reward is simply something we want and not usually connected to the work being done. Hit a hole in one and you might win a car. Win the sales competition and you might get a watch. You might reward your child for learning a second language with a treat they like...but the child that learns Spanish in school because they are going to live in Mexico is rewarded more fully. The reward connects to the work and the reward lasts longer than any one-time gift. 

So it is with God. Our reward is heaven. Our reward is everlasting life. Our reward is in the future. And our reward is now. Eternal life begins when we say yes to Jesus. Life in the Spirit. Full, meaningful, purposeful life happens right now. Our reward is connected to our daily life and our daily work. Paul knows the crown of righteousness he is about to receive. He knows he’s fought the good fight and finished the race. His future reward is coming because he lived with the present reward of God’s grace and mercy. Paul lived with the present reward of God’s power being made perfect in his weakness. He endured so many hardships because he lived with the reward that renews strength and heals the body. He lived with the reward which enabled him to say, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).

Have you had trouble going through difficult seasons in life because you were waiting for the reward instead of living with the reward? There is more in store for the faithful but we don’t have to wait till we get to heaven to receive the reward. The reward is a future promise and present assurance.

Prayer

Holy God, may your abiding presence with us be the central focus of our life today. Guide us by your Spirit and lead us not into our own understanding, but transform and renew our minds according to your desire. Enable us to live with the present reward of your grace and mercy as we long for your glorious appearing that is to  come. We thank you and praise you God for your promises. We know you walk with us today. Keep us in your love. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen