[forthright] Rewards Motivate Us

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From: "Forthright Magazine" <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 13:44:47 -0300
Forthright Magazine
Straight to the Cross

It's fiction; it's non-fiction. It's a story; it's
truth. It's dialog; it's proclamation. All this and
more: http://forthrightpress.com/#KingdomOfGod


Rewards Motivate Us
  by Tim Hall

There was a time, not many years ago, when I thought,
"I can't wait to get rid of these credit cards!" Now I
have the ability to shred every one that has been
issued in my name. But I haven't destroyed them. I want
to use them.

The change of view is because of rewards. For every
dollar I charge to my account I will earn some type of

Some credit cards give a monetary rebate. Others award
air miles, enabling one to take a trip some day in the
future. Still others offer gifts of various kinds.

Once we all despised credit cards, knowing the
potential jeopardy to which they exposed us. What a
difference rewards make!

God calls us to live a life of holiness. That's quite a
request. James acknowledges the difficulty we typically
face in resisting temptation:

   "But every one is tempted when he is drawn
   away by his own desires and enticed. Then,
   when desire has conceived, it gives birth to
   sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings
   forth death" (James 1:14,15, NKJV).

We sin because of our desires, he stated. We want the
pleasure that sin temporarily brings. Why, then, would
anyone resist what their bodily appetites urge them to

Rewards. Before man discovered the motivating power of
rewards, God spoke of them. Those who choose his will
over their own are promised amazing rewards.

There are scores of promises recorded in the New
Testament, each of them an incentive to walk in God's
pathway. Jesus summed them all up in Mark 10:29,30.

Those who will leave all "for my sake and the
gospel's, [will] receive a hundredfold now in this time
-- houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and
children and lands, with persecutions -- and in the age
to come, eternal life."

Has any credit card ever developed a rewards program
approaching that? Great and gracious gifts await those
who follow the Lord!

Even when the challenges before us are extreme, the
reward beckons us. To the church at Smyrna - a church
that would be severely tested by persecutions - Jesus
pointed to the ultimate incentive:

"Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown
of life" (Revelation 2:10).

Instead of saying simply "life," Jesus spoke of "the
crown of life." The image is likely that of the laurel
wreath awarded to athletic and military champions. It
signified to all that they had prevailed in their
contests; they now were to be honored by all. Upon our
heads Jesus will one day place a crown of life if we
remain faithful, even to the point of giving up our
lives for him.

Is Christianity a life of sacrifice? Only if one values
the things of the world more than the things of God.
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