Eternal rewards…….now there is a big idea. This concept is rooted in two big ideas, namely that in the end God is the judge of all things and the rewarder of all things. When our faith is challenged, it will often be on these grounds. Mother Theresa’s teaching on this subject inspires me over and over again. The following is on a poster in our office:
People are often unreasonable, irrational and self-centered.
FORGIVE THEM ANYWAY.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
BE KIND ANYWAY.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
BE HONEST AND SINCERE ANYWAY.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.
BE HAPPY ANYWAY.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
DO GOOD ANYWAY.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
GIVE YOUR BEST ANYWAY.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
IT WAS NEVER BETWEEN YOU AND THEM ANYWAY.
What a Concept!!
In the end of the day God is the one with whom we have to do. This is one of the big ideas contained in the Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6 Jesus includes teachings on giving, praying and fasting. With each category Jesus ends with this refrain, “do not do these things to be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” In verse 19 Jesus goes so far as to say that generosity stores up treasures in heaven — where they are a part of our eternal reality.
Years ago I was deeply gripped by this concept in Hebrews 11, “And without faith it is impossible to please God. For whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” The ability and motivation to live out Jesus’ teachings are found in these theological foundations — God is there and our ultimate reward is with him in eternity.
I think Mother Teresa grasped this deeply. I think it helps explain her exceptional life of service to God. This is the way I desire to live my life — that it was never about them anyway.
The Uniqueness of Each Church
As I have often said, God is honored when we acknowledge the uniqueness of each church. In light of this I led a discovery process with church leaders at Vineyard Church Baton Rouge to articulate this uniqueness in a mission statement. The result of the group’s work is “following Jesus into authentic community and the empowered life”. I think the statement does a good job capturing the unique culture of the congregation. Delores and I love to say — the body of Christ is really smart. It was great to experience this reality again with the leaders who participated in this exercise.
As Delores and I continue to live out our calling to serve the church, we thank God for your interest in our lives and ministry.
Scott, for the two of us