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(January 26, 2005)
I Am Your Reward
By Fern Horst
"After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." (Genesis 15:1)
What does one say to someone who asks where God is in the midst of human suffering? And what is the answer for ourselves when we struggle with following God's way, while we see others enjoying the pleasures of indulging in their desires?
Just recently on the Discussion Board someone asked a similar question, and someone else's response gives us a broader perspective, not just to this short earthly life, but to the whole of our eternal lives. This person wrote, "God's children see the most of Hell on this earth with their reward in Heaven; the unchosen see the most glimpse of Heaven on this earth, and that's it."
If I had to choose (and I do - we all do), I choose to see the most of hell on this earth, knowing that heaven is far more perfect and wonderful and long-lasting than the small bit of "heaven" that this earthly life may have to offer. I realize that in so doing I am far better off than the person who is indulging in sinful pleasures right now, but then will have absolutely no pleasure for all eternity.
There's a term that is used in various instances, that is very fitting for the Christian life, and that is "delayed gratification." It means that a person chooses to delay experiencing a small amount of immediate gratification in cases where waiting will bring a greater gratification. It can be used in reference to a child refusing to accept one piece of candy that can be eaten now, in deference to waiting for two pieces of candy that he can have if he waits another hour. It's a principle that is applied to investing: we can either spend a certain amount of money now, or invest it so we have more to spend in the future.
While Moses never heard the term "delayed gratification," he lived it. The Bible tells us:
"By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward." (Hebrews 11:25-27)
Moses could have completely ignored his heritage as one of God's people and lived a life of ease and luxury as the grandson of the Pharaoh. But he instead chose to identify with his own people, who were slaves in the land. That doesn't seem like a really smart choice, does it? Not if we look at the rewards of just this earthly life. But according to the verses above, Moses knew that God's riches for eternity were far greater than the "treasures in Egypt."
God told Abram that He was his shield and his "exceeding great reward." By faith Abraham believed that, and by faith we need to believe that for ourselves. We cannot physically see, nor even mentally comprehend, what all it means to have God as our reward. Most rewards are like that. It's not until we have actually received it that we know the magnitude of its benefits. As Christians, we get small tastes here and now of God's goodness and love towards us. In heaven we will receive the fullness of our inheritance. By faith we live according to His commands, knowing that someday we will have our reward in all its fullness.
© 2005 Fern Horst
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