“For the Lamb Who is in the midst of the throne will be their Shepherd, and He will guide them to the springs of waters of life; and God will wipe away all tear from their eyes.” Rev 7:17
Bryn Howarth’s song ‘Everybody wants to get to heaven, but nobody wants to die’ is a popular and very poignant saying. However, we have all accepted that it is a journey we must make if Jesus tarries. The puzzling fact is that our meeting with our Lord in the sky would be a bitter-sweet occasion in the sense that we would be overjoyed to have made it into heaven. However, that joy will be tempered, at least initially, by the fact that we would also receive our rewards for our service whilst on earth.
One thing that is guaranteed for all of us is that we shall all cry at our prize giving ceremony both in joy and pain, for job well done as well as for missed opportunities. The one thing that would make that event an anxious time for all of us is the fact that God would try/test our works by fire. The bible says: “The work of each [one] will become [plainly, openly] known (shown for what it is); for the day [of Christ] will disclose and declare it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test and critically appraise the character and worth of the work each person has done. If the work which any person has built on this foundation [any product of his efforts whatever] survives [this test], he will get his reward. But if any person’s work is burned up [under the test], he will suffer loss [of it all, losing his reward], though he himself will be saved, but only as [one who has passed] through fire.” 1 Cor 3:13-15
So what qualifies our works either as precious gold or worthless rubble? It is our motivation. The reason(s) why we do what we do determines the intrinsic character of our service. The pain and surprise when we get to heaven would be to discover that our works which we thought are worth ten tonnes of gold, are in reality only worth two ounces, and what a great loss that would be for us? However, we can ensure that we reduce the extent of this nasty surprise by daily judging ourselves and clarifying our motivations for serving God, for if we truly judge ourselves and make amends, we would then not be judged. Let us serve the Lord with gladness, with our conscience cleansed and thus ensure that our works will stand the rigours of God’s fiery testing.
So, getting to heaven, whilst our main goal and primary aspiration, is not the only thing to look forward to. The reward God has prepared for us awaits us in His holy presence. Let us ensure by our day-to-day conduct that we secure our inheritance in heaven so that we would not be consumed by the shock and sorrow of suffering loss. As genuine Christians, heaven is guaranteed for us. Some of us will sail through the pearly gates without any difficulty, while some of us will just about scrape through. However, we would all have made it. The issue of our rewards is an entirely different matter. You only safeguard what you have done, when it is done in line with God’s word and with the right motivation. The consolation is that whatever our reward and the attendant disappointment, God will still wipe away our tears. Just ensure that He does not have to use a mop. For your sake, He would prefer to use a handkerchief!
Lord, you know me more than I can ever know myself. Please save me from myself and help me to keep my eyes on you and to constantly keep in mind that great payday as I serve you here on earth. Let my service be tinged with joy and based on the right motivations in the name of Jesus. Amen.