You’re confronted with a choice.
The wrong choice is obvious, but it looks better in the short term; you can see the reward.
The right choice is also obvious, but you don’t see any gain to it. All you can see down that road is losing out for the sake of being good. Being honest on your timecard when nobody would know either way; breaking up with that person who’s apathetic towards God; clamping down on that beer habit when it feels like the only thing keeping you going.
I’ve written along these lines before, but…how the church would change if we remembered that God promises rewards for obedience?
I should say this right away: the greatest reward of obedience is God himself. Tim Keller recently said it well: “Don’t obey God to get stuff. Obey God to get God.” More of his peace, his power, his unfettered presence. That is the best reward of all. And the fact that a small part of us groans and rolls our eyes in impatience at that statement just shows how little of God’s love we have truly tasted. If only we had experienced more of God, we would not hesitate to seek him above all else. We’d be hooked.
I’m so totally stealing my pastor’s encouragement from our morning “fella-ship” at Chick-Fil-A last week that it’s not even funny, but it was a great point: God remembers our obedience. For a long time.
People think the book of Numbers is part of that “boring” (but important) collection of genealogies and bodily-fluids-regulations in the New Testament. It’s not. Numbers is packed with potent, sobering stories of how Israel treated God after their dramatic exodus from Egypt following centuries of enslavement. (Spoiler alert: not well.)
You’d think that the newly liberated Israelites would be thrilled to arrive at the border of the promised land. I imagine they waited with anticipation while Moses sent twelve scouts, one from each tribe, to get the lay of the land and report back.
Instead of rah-rah, ten scouts threw a wet blanket.