REWARDS FOR FAITHFULNESS (2 Timothy – 23)
READ: 2 Timothy 4:6-8
As he ended his final words of advice to Timothy, Paul shared how he viewed his life for Jesus. He said he has fought the good fight, finished the race and kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:6-8). This was an unspoken challenge to Timothy to live his life so he could say the same thing when he was facing death. It is the duty of all of us to be faithful to the end. We all want to be, but it can be hard.
Even if you haven’t been as faithful as Paul was (and very few are), if you confess any sin or failure and turn from it, God will forgive you and restore you so you can start again with a clean record (1 John 1:9). Stay faithful from here on. And if you fail, He will forgive and restore you as often as you need it.
God will bless you in this life with peace, joy and close fellowship with Himself. He will also reward you in heaven for all eternity. That’s why Paul next says: “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness…” Crowns were given to victors in sporting events then like we give medals and trophies today. God’s awards aren’t given for beating others but for fulfilling your own course. They are rewards for all eternity. Not only will we live forever with Jesus, but we will have special blessings and privileges from Him for our faithful service. These are given by Jesus to all believers (1 Corinthians 9:4-27). Faithful pastors will receive a crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4). All Christians (2 Timothy 4:8), including pastors, can receive an imperishable crown for living a disciplined life (1 Corinthians 9:25), a crown of rejoicing for leading people to Jesus and helping them grow (1 Thessalonians 2:19), a crown of righteousness for loving Jesus’ return (2 Timothy 4:8) and a crown of life for enduring trials (James 1:12; Revelation 2:10).
Which of these crowns do you think you will receive? How will it make you feel to reach heaven and receive them from Jesus?
We won’t be able to take anything from this life to heaven with us. All we have will be the crowns Jesus gives us there. When we worship Him on the throne and see His greatness and beauty, we’ll want to show our love so we’ll give Him the only thing we have – our crowns. We’ll lay them at His feet in recognition that they belong to Him for we wouldn’t have them without His mercy and power (Revelation 4:10). All we can produce on our own is wood, hay and stubble – nothing worthy of Him (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). How sad it would be to not have a crown to give Him!
Second Timothy is Paul’s final writing to Timothy before he was martyred. Last words are significant and meaningful. One day you and I will be saying our final words. Will we be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)? Paul’s time on earth is over but we are still here, we can still live for Him and serve Him.
Are you doing that now? Will you continue to do that for the rest of your life, no matter what you face?
Even more important than our last words on earth are Jesus’ first words to us in heaven. I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put your in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23). Just being in heaven will be marvelous, but to meet Jesus and hear Him say that face to face will be beyond anything we can imagine. (July 3, 2023 Doylestown, PA)
PAUL’S ADVICE: Living for Jesus not only brings blessings in this life, but special crowns and rewards for all eternity.
Spend some time in prayer thanking Jesus for all He has done in your life in the past, what He is doing now and for all you will have with Him for eternity in heaven.
cto Rev. Dr. JERRY SCHMOYER
Christian Training Organization
(India Outreach, Spiritual Warfare, Family Ministries, Counseling, World View)
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