Reward for Faithful Service
|By: Dr. John Ankerberg; ©2001|
|If you are one of the “behind the scenes” Christians, do you have any real chance of receiving rewards in heaven, or are they reserved for famous evangelists and pastors? Dr. Ankerberg says “Yes.” The key words are “faithful” and “service.” When you apply these to your kingdom task you are on the right track.|
Reward for Faithful Service
The second kind of behavior the Bible says Christ will reward is faithful service for Him. Remember Billy Graham said he wanted to hear the Lord Jesus say about him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”? Well, if you want to hear Jesus say that about you, then you must be a good and faithful servant now. Think about this. We can’t all be successful, but we can all be faithful: The problem is, so many Christians aren’t faithful in anything. Consider church statistics for a moment. In any given church, ten percent of the congregation does about 100 percent of the work; the other ninety percent of the congregation is content to sit and watch them do it. That shouldn’t be. They should be faithfully serving Christ in some capacity.
Let me ask you, “What do you do faithfully for Christ?” Can I advise that you pick out at least one thing and do it faithfully? Maybe you could be an usher and shake hands with people as they come through the door. Maybe you could teach a Sunday School Class or sing in the choir. Maybe you could visit folks in the hospital. Every one of us can give regularly to ministries; each one of us can pray on a consistent basis. Some of you who are men could work in your church’s Boy’s Club. Some of you women could work with girls in the Girl’s Club. To some boy or girl it could make a world of difference and God could really use you.
When I was about eight years old, there was a neighbor of ours who used to work downtown in the city of Chicago. After work on Monday he would drive home through rush hour traffic, which would take him about 45 minutes. Then he would sit down and quickly eat his dinner. After that, his son and I would jump into his old black DeSoto and he would drive another 30 or 40 minutes down to our church where his son and I would race off to participate in Boy’s Club. As an eight-year-old kid, I loved that night. We had sports activities, games, food, and we were taught Bible verses. I didn’t particularly want to memorize Bible verses as a kid, but if the prize was good enough, I could memorize a list of verses in a heartbeat. It wasn’t a very spiritual reason for doing it but it’s amazing how many of those verses I’ve never forgotten.
The man who brought us to the Boy’s Club would sit on the side and just watch. He wasn’t even a leader. He just faithfully brought us every week. After the Boy’s Club was over, we’d get back into the car and he would take us to a little restaurant where they had the best chocolate malted milks I’d ever tasted. We would sit there drinking those malted milks, laughing, and life just didn’t get any better.
Later on, both his son and I went to seminary and then into the ministry. One night, years later, this man said to me, “You know, I don’t feel like I’ve amounted to much.” And I told him, “You know, you faithfully took us to Boy’s Club every week. We were young, energetic eight-year-old boys who grew up in the city. It didn’t look like we would amount to much. But because you took us to Club, we learned those Bible verses, God called us into the ministry, and God has used us to help a lot of other people.” I believe God is going to reward Christians just like this man who served faithfully behind the scenes.
Let me tell you another story. One time when we had been invited to speak in Af‑rica, we brought along musicians, speakers, and a layman who was a carpenter. When we got over to Africa, the missionaries were glad to see us, but when they found out we had brought a carpenter along with us, they welcomed him with open arms. You see, there were so many things that needed fixing in their houses that nobody else could fix, he was kept busy from morning to night. I began thinking he was the most important person on the team. To those missionaries with their needs, he was.
Everyone has been gifted in some way by the Lord to serve Him. The question is, are you faithfully doing it? The Bible says we are “God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10). According to this verse, God brings opportunities into every one of our lives to serve Him. They are all different, but they’re all important. If you want to hear Jesus say,
“Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” you must be faithful in doing something.
The third thing Christ will reward at His Judgment Seat are those who are servants, not bosses. Jesus said, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Do you have a servant’s heart in all that you do for Christ? I want you to look at Matthew 20:25-28. Jesus called the disciples together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whosoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant; and whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave; just as the Son of man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Now from this passage I could ask you, “Do you want to be considered great in Jesus’ Kingdom someday?” The Bible says there will be those who are called great in the Kingdom and those who will be called least in the Kingdom. Which would you like Jesus to say about you?
Well, if you want to be called “great” in the Kingdom later, you need to be a servant now. Notice, Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them.” He is talking about how the world operates. Think of how things go at work. The guy who is ahead of you lords it over you. When the boss speaks, you jump. In a world filled with pride and egos, you find displayed the attitude of “Kiss my foot! I’m above you!” That’s the world’s system. But among Christians, Jesus says, “It shall not be so among you. Instead, whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your SERVANT.” This is the way it’s supposed to be in the Church, but that’s not always the way it is. Rather, I find that there are two kinds of people who come to church every Sunday. There are those who come to be served and then there are those who come to serve. What do I mean?
First, there are those who come to be served. They walk up the steps to the church and say, “Where is the person who is supposed to greet me? I don’t see them.” As they walk through the doors, they check whether there is any dust on the windowsills. Has the church been vacuumed properly? Is it too warm? Is it too cold? Is the sound too loud or too soft? Is the music too contemporary? Too traditional? Have you ever met any Christians like that? These folks come every Sunday to be served. They’re the ones who say about the Sunday School teacher, “Well, he was a little dry today. Must have had a tough week.” When they go to the morning service, “The choir didn’t hit it today. They were a little flat. The song leader talks too much. The pastor, well he was okay, but he went a little long. I’ll give him a B-.”
Then, there are the people who come to church every Sunday to serve. This is the person who stands at the front door and welcomes people in and shakes their hands. This is the person who teaches the Sunday School class, sings in the choir, ushers people to their seats. This is the one who leads the music from the platform, works the sound system, plays the organ or piano, preaches the sermon. They are servants who are there to serve. Which one are you?
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great in the kingdom must be your servant.” Further, if you want to be “top dog” in the Kingdom, that is, you want to be first, Jesus says, “And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave.”
What is a slave? It is a person who has given up all rights; he is completely dedicated to serving his master. And what Jesus is asking of Christians here is no different than what He Himself did. In Matthew 20:28 Jesus said, “Just as the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.” When we serve others, we are acting just like our Lord did, and it’s this kind of behavior that He promises to reward.