Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Beautiful Isle Of Somewhere"1 (Lyrics)
Matthew 13:12a – To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. (NLT)
His comment came during one of the most taxing times of a school year.
As I stood outside my doorway during the changing of classes, a young man — whom I had previously taught — passed my way. I normally spoke to him first, but this day, he spoke first. "Dr. Wiles, you were hard on us, but it paid off in the end."
His comment shocked me. Rarely do we teachers hear remarks like this while students are still in school — perhaps, during graduation speeches or after they enter college, but not while they are still under our tutelage.
I smiled a large smile, thinking that this was one of the normal smart remarks for which he was known, and I said, "I'm glad."
With an even larger smile, he remarked, "I'm serious."
This interaction was one of those rare occurrences when teachers receive confirmation that they are doing a good job at what they do. I thanked him for his comment. The remainder of my hectic day took on a new shape. I had been rewarded — not monetarily — but in a way that money couldn't buy.
Wanting rewards for things that we do is normal. Never receiving recognition for anything leads to a miserable existence. Jesus' disciples were rewarded with something that many others weren't: the ability to understand the parables that He taught. When they didn't, He explained them.
God's greatest reward is the assurance of forgiveness, and it comes when we believe what Jesus did on Calvary's cross and follow Him. The work that God assigns us can be challenging. Some of the work that He has given me has taxed my ability to cope, understand, and carry it out. But God rewards our good works. He gives more opportunities in the present and promises crowns in the future. Regardless of how He rewards, we must always remember to praise Him for any accomplishments. We can do all things through Christ — but nothing worthy apart from Him.
While good works don't produce salvation, they should result from our forgiveness. They are the proof in the pudding. Using them to serve God in new and fresh ways — and to say "Thank You" for His salvation — is the only wise thing to do.
What are you doing with the rewards that God has given you?
Prayer: Father, move us to serve You faithfully as we anticipate the rewards that You will give for our obedient service. Amen.