Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
For a long time, I’ve wondered if the things I’m doing are eternal.
Prioritizing what’s important has always been a challenge for me, but I think you have to be a very unique kind of person to not struggle with it. We all have issues deciding what things should go first and how we should spend our time.
But recently I’ve been wondering about this question: are the things I choose to prioritize in my life eternal? Will they remain important, significant, or noteworthy in heaven? Or will they all fade away as insignificant and trivial when I reach heaven?
This thought scared me, to be honest. Because a lot of what we do on earth is pretty insignificant compared to eternity. I don’t think I’m going to care if I put makeup on that one day, or won a particular soccer game, or watered my plants on Tuesday when I get to heaven. So what I still be proud of in heaven?
Think about this question for yourself. When you reach heaven, will you be proud of what you’re doing now? Today? This week? This year?
I immediately thought about Far Below Human Eyes. It’s not an explicitly Christian book, but it has Christian themes. Will that remain in heaven? Will I still be proud of it there?
Will I still be proud of the awards I won, the money I earned, the teams we beat, or the gifts I’ve received?
It’s a terrifying thought, but the answer is no for most of what I just mentioned.
So what will I be proud of in heaven? Or, a better question might be, what can I do that God would be proud of?
Of course, I know by diving into this question I risk sounding too ‘works-based.’ That’s not at all what I’m getting at. You can’t work your way to heaven, and ultimately there’s nothing on earth you can do to save yourself. Only Jesus, who died on the cross for our sins and paid the price we couldn’t, can save us when we embrace Him. That’s the gospel, the best message in all of history.
So we shouldn’t be motivated to do good things, or things God would be proud of, because we hope to work our way to heaven or be good enough to be saved. You’re already saved! The work is already finished! And God not only views you as good enough, but when He looks at you He sees the perfection, beauty, and blamelessness of His son. The only reason you should want to do good things is because you love Jesus for what He’s done for you and you want to please Him.
What I’m trying to get at is: if our motives are selfish when we do things, selfish as in working to get to heaven, we won’t be proud of them when we do reach heaven. But if we are solely motivated by our love for Jesus Christ in how we live our lives, we will be proud of the things we do on earth.
This is what working for the eternal reward looks like.
Jesus talks about the eternal reward during his sermon on the mount. Matthew 6:2-4 says, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
Jesus also talks about praying in secret a few verses later, and how our Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward us if we pray alone instead of openly so others give us attention and respect.
I think a huge part of working for an eternal reward is not expecting any earthly reward immediately after.
The things I mentioned before, winning awards, earning money, winning games, or receiving gifts–I’ve already received the rewards for each of those things.
But the things like giving when no one is watching, complimenting an absolute jerk, praying for your enemies–these are things we don’t receive rewards for on earth. And I think these are a taste of what it looks like to live for the eternal reward.
Jesus tells a parable in Matthew 25 about a lord and his servants. The lord gives each his servants some talents, or money, to take care of while he’s gone. The worst servant takes his talent and buries it underground. Granted, it’s safe, but it can’t grow. The best servant takes his talents and doubles their worth. You could say this servant took what he’d been given and worked for a greater reward, the eternal reward of his lord’s pride. And when the lord returns, he tells the best servant the iconic verse:
“Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23).
I want to live for the eternal reward like that. I want to reach heaven and hear my Father, best friend, lover, king, and God say well done.
Paul says in 2 Timothy 4:7, “I have run the race, I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith.” I want to be able to say the same some day.
So here’s the question I’m learning to ask every day: is what I’m doing right now working for the eternal reward? Am I living in a way that acknowledges my home and heart and ambitions lie in heaven?
Listen to this song by The Afters. (I try not to share a ton of KLove songs, but this is a good one;-) Ask God how you can be living for the eternal reward today. But also ask Him for the strength to live in pursuit of it. Love you all + happy weekend<3