Summary: We have all asked at one time or another whether it is worth the sacrifice to serve God. May I tell you the answer is yes!
Does It Really Pay To Serve The Lord?
Intro: This passage of scripture deals with the time when Jesus had told the rich young ruler to sell out the god of riches in his life and follow Jesus, if he chose to go to heaven. He had told the disciples that it would be extremely difficult for a rich man to get to heaven, and they had come to question if anybody could get saved (v. 25)? Jesus response was clear (v.26). Yet Peter sought a more specific answer to his question. He wanted to know what was in it for them. We have sacrificed all we have for this thing, and what’s in it for us? He was basically asking Jesus if it was worth it to serve the Lord.
We can be pious and criticize Peter’s question if we want, but many of the great men of the Bible have come to the place at some point in life where they ask this question. Sometimes it does not appear worthwhile to the world, and often the saint can not see past his own flesh to have hope of a cause as well, and we ask ourselves and ask of God, “DOES IT REALLY PAY TO SERVE THE LORD?”
* Asaph questioned this in Psalms 73:2, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.” He almost slipped in envy until he went to the house of God (v. 17).
* Elijah questioned this in I Kings 19- He went a day’s journey into the wilderness and asked God to let him die, for fear that Jezebel would have him killed, but when he slept God sent an angel to him and woke him with a cake of bread to eat and a canteen of water to drink. In the midst of his pity party God showed him seven thousand that had not bowed to Baal and taught him that it does pay to serve the Lord!
* Solomon sought the answer to this question throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, and he came to the conclusion that without God all of life is but vanity and vexation of spirit.
* Moses questioned God in this manner when the children of Israel railed against him for their desire for meat instead of manna in Numbers 11:11-15.
* David asked his brethren this question in the valley of Elah when they were frightened by Goliath in I Samuel 17:29, “Is there not a cause?”
Today, I am asking you, “Does It Really Pay To Serve The Lord?” The Answer Is YES! It Pays:
I. In the days of prosperity: Abraham and Lot had gotten so wealthy in Genesis 13 that there was not enough room in the fields where they raised cattle for both flocks. They parted, and Lot went to Sodom; nevertheless, Abraham served the Lord. When Sodom and Gomorrah was on fire Abraham sat in the mount, he must have said, “Surely it pays to serve the Lord!”
II. In the days of progress: Phillip started a church in Samaria in Acts 8. All the people of the city heard his message and believed. There was great progress in the church, but Phillip was called of the Holy Ghost to the wilderness where he met a eunuch and preached to him. He was saved. It was hard for Phillip to see why God would take him from the growing church in Samaria to send him to the wilderness, but the Lord wanted to use this Eunuch to carry the Gospel to the continent of Africa. Phillip was obedient, and God used him. If the crowds at God’s house are 10,000 or 10, it still pays to serve the Lord!!
III. In the days of poverty: II Kings 4 tells of a widow whose creditors were about to take her boys as slaves for her debt. She had nothing but a cruse of oil. God multiplied her oil and allowed her to pay her debt and live! All the way to the bank to pay the debt I can see her counting the money and telling her boys, “Children, it pays, it pays, it always pays to serve the Lord!!”
I Kings 17 tells of a widow to whom Elijah was sent for food, but she had nothing save a handful of mill in the bottom of the barrel, and a small cruse of oil. She prepared, even still, for him first, and the oil stayed in the vessel and the barrel never went empty until the famine was over. Every morning when she scooped out another handful of mill she must have thought, YES! IT DOES PAY TO SERVE THE LORD!!
IV. In the days of persecution: In all of Paul’s sufferings he still said it still paid to serve the Lord. II Cor 4:8-9 “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed: we are perplexed, but not in despair: Persecuted, but not forsaken: cast down, but not destroyed.” He counted it an honor to have faced these trials that he might be a spectacle to the world in how he dealt with them (I Cor 4:9). He counted the rewards greater than the risks! Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”