I love rewards. When I taught preschool, I used rewards often to motivate positive behavior. Lately, I have been thinking about heavenly rewards ... rewards for completing the life work God has given to each of us specifically.
I believe God has a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. When we are born again, that's the beginning of partnering with God to follow that plan.
In 1 Corinthians 9:16, Paul says, "Yet preaching the Good News is not something I can boast about. I am compelled by God to do it. How terrible for me if I didn't preach the Good News!" NLT
Paul's calling was to be a preacher. What is your calling? What are you passionate about doing for God? What excites you?
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 says, "Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." NLT
We often hear about how salvation is a free gift. It's not based on anything we can do to earn it. No amount of good works can ever get you to heaven.
Ephesians 2:8-10 talks about this. "God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." NLT
So, Salvation is a free gift, and after we are born again, we are on a mission here on earth for God ... to do the "good things he planned for us long ago."
Romans 12:11 says, "Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.*"NLT
* Or but serve the Lord with a zealous spirit; or but let the Spirit excite you as you serve the Lord.
1 Peter 1:17 says, "And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as "foreigners in the land." NLT
Let's make sure everything we do is on mission. Let's not try to do "good things" out of obligation or guilt that might distract us from our true calling. Let's instead follow -- with lots of energy and passion -- that specific life calling of God.