CHAPTER 23-REWARDS POSSIBLE FOR EVERY SAINT
We need not be afraid that the doctrine of rewards will give some people advantage over others, the rich over the poor or the strong over the weak. God's rewards are such that the poorest and weakest of His children may secure rewards. God's rewards are based upon faithfulness and not upon wealth and strength. There is reward for secret prayer. "But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly" (#Mt 6:6). And for giving a cup of cold water. "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (#Mt 10:42).
There are many institutions in the world that are doing good. They help the poor and relieve the afflicted. I have no fight to make against them for so doing. I would rather commend them, various fraternal organizations like the Masons, IOOF, and others. Our American Legion boys sent baskets of fruit and other food to the sick and afflicted, and all this was good in itself considering that it brought happiness to the recipients. But there will be no reward in heaven for all the good done by these various institutions. And of course the lost people in these organizations would not argue the question. The man who will not take Christ to be his Savior and Lord will not want any reward or expect any reward from Christ. Every man will first have to be accepted in Christ before he can be rewarded in Christ. It is only those saved by Christ who will be rewarded by Christ. If the saved in these various organizations think they ought to be rewarded in heaven by Christ for what they do through these organizations, they need to be told in words of scripture that Christ is to get the glory in His church. That His church is the institution He founded through which His people are to honor Him and work for rewards. "He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet's reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward" (#Mt 10:40-42).
How can we do good in the name of a disciple? First, you must be a disciple of Christ. None but disciples can do the work of a disciple.
Then, he must do it through the church. If I give something in my own name, I will get the praise for it. If I do something through a lodge, the lodge will get the praise for it. If I do good through the church, then the church will get the praise for it. And if the church gets the praise for it, Christ is being honored, for He is head of the church.
Here are two questions of great importance: What place has Christ in your hope of salvation? He must have the preeminence here. He must be the one and only hope of salvation. Then what place has Christ in your hope of rewards? Whatever good you do must be done in His name as His disciple if you are to get any rewards for it.
As to the nature of rewards, there is not much that can be definitely stated. Whatever they are we will be pleased with them. Whatever they are, they will be worth working for. It may be only a "well done, thou good and faithful servant:...enter thou into the joy of thy lord" (#Mt 25:21). But whatever it is I want it. It will not be something to be snickered at, and to lose it will be a great loss.
The time of rewards will be when Christ comes. "And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be" (#Re 22:12). If we have to have our rewards today for the good we do, we can do them to get human praise and that will be our only reward. That will end it and there will be no further reward when Christ comes. It is a blessed thing to work for pay if we are willing to wait for our pay until He comes. The place of rewards will be in heaven. "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (#Mt 5:12). The only place we can put our treasure where it will be safe is in heaven.
Brethren, let us not live and act as if we are wasting our time in the service of God. Let us not live and act as if Christ's rewards for faithfulness were of small value. Let us not live and act as if His promises were mere sound.