Summary: Every day that we have, is a gift from God and that should be enough! However God has more in store for those who will be obedient to Him.
Imagine, if you will, that you work for a company whose president found it necessary to travel out of the country and spend an extended period of time abroad. So he says to you and the other trusted employees, "Look, I’m going to leave. And while I’m gone, I want you to pay close attention to the business. You manage things while I’m away. I will write you regularly. When I do, I will instruct you in what you should do from now until I return from this trip." Everyone agrees.
He leaves and stays gone for a couple of years. During that time he writes often, communicating his desires and concerns. Finally he returns. He walks up to the front door of the company and immediately discovers everything is in a mess--weeds flourishing in the flower beds, windows broken across the front of the building, the gal at the front desk dozing, loud music roaring from several offices, two or three people engaged in horseplay in the back room. Instead of making a profit, the business has suffered a great loss. Without hesitation he calls everyone together and with a frown asks, "What happened? Didn’t you get my letters?"
You say, "Oh, yeah, sure. We got all your letters. We’ve even bound them in a book. And some of us have memorized them. In fact, we have ’letter study’ every Sunday. You know, those were really great letters." I think the president would then ask, "But what did you do about my instructions?" And, no doubt the employees would respond, "Do? Well, nothing. But we read every one!"
Charles Swindoll, Living Above the Level of Mediocrity
God has called us to be Do ers. God has called us to be obedient to Him, and He has given us some very helpful information. The Bible tells us what He expects and how we can get there. This morning we will be looking at the rewards of obedience. And how that applies to us as we try to break free from the casual Christian mold.
One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I’ll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can’t see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that’s all that matters."
The first reward of obedience that I can see is that of Faith. I don’t know about you, but when I am truly walking hand in hand with the Father, I feel like nothing can get me down. I feel like I’m on the top of the world. I can see in my life, as my commitment to Christ grows, my faith grows right along with it. I reminded of the apostle Peter whose commitment and faith was tested when called to step out of the boat and walk to Jesus on the water. You see Peter must have had those same feelings that I had. That in following Christ all things were possible. Then I guess a question I have is, Can you be committed to Christ, receive his rewards without having faith? The answer that I keep coming back to is no! (Heb 11:6 says, And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.) This morning are you earnestly seeking God! Are you trusting in His power, in His strength, in His might! Are you willing to take your worries and doubts and lay them at the masters feet! Are you willing to be totally committed and receive the rewards of those who earnestly seek Him! If our answer is no to any of these questions, then maybe we have some work. (Rom.1:17 states, For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written “the righteous will live by faith”) The first reward of obedience is Faith. Not a faith that is weak and dying, but a faith that is strong and growing- leading us to a total commitment in our lives.
The second reward of obedience that I found was the idea of Hope. You might be saying how can hope be a reward? Well the answer is very,very simple. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this stuff out, if it did, I wouldn’t have found it, but this one was so easy! If you have no hope in your life and you have no prospects of things getting any better, how would that make you feel. The answer is: “Hopeless”? You would feel terrible and be miserable. However when hope come into the picture, you have something to live for, something to look forward to! You see that’s what our lives in Christ are all about. That’s why we are called be obedient and to live lives totally sold out for Christ. Why? Because we have hope in something better to come! *Story of Rats: One group given no rest, they died in 1 hour. Second group scooped out of the water once an hour, they swam for over 24 hours. The reason wasn’t the brief rest, the reason was HOPE* (Heb.6:19 says, We have this hope as an anchor for our soul, firm and secure...) Well, what is this hope? (Tit.1:2 says, a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time) The hope that we have is eternal life! The hope that we have is the chance to spend eternity with a God who cares about us so much, that even the hairs on our head are important to Him! A God that cares about us so much, that He would send His one and only Son, to offer us a way to be close to Him! A God that cares about us so much that He rewards our obedience with the gift of Eternal Life!