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Topic: Reward (09/27/04)
TITLE: You Deserve It!
By Zillah Williams
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These days, part of the media’s advertising approach is to assure us that we ‘deserve it’. We deserve to have that new kitchen appliance, or the exciting holiday in exotic surroundings. We deserve that reward, or this treat. Well, perhaps we do.
However, Paul, the New Testament writer, would have snorted with disgust at such an advertising ploy, and would doubtless have zipped off an e-mail epistle to the advertiser, setting out the reasons why he considered all such earthly rewards as worthless rubbish when compared to the joy of knowing Jesus Christ.
Long before the time of Paul, Abram heard those awesome words from God, spoken to him under a night sky filled with stars. ‘Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.’ (Gen. 15:1b). This is the old King James Version, powerful in its simple brevity. The Amplified Bible translates it, ‘Fear not, Abram, I am your Shield, your abundant compensation, and your reward shall be exceedingly great’.
God goes on to tell Abram that his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of heaven. Again, the KJV is economical with words when it gives Abram’s response: ‘And he believed in the Lord: and he counted it to him for righteousness.’ (Gen. 15: 6).
God, Himself, was to be Abram’s reward! What a reversal of the worldly concept of rewards. We expect to be rewarded for a good action performed, an examination passed, or perhaps for our prowess in sport. Yet, so often, people who are successful by worldly standards say that, after reaching the top of the ladder, they find there is nothing there! Worldly success doesn’t satisfy.
Saint Augustine (354AD – 430AD), a former playboy before finding Christ, knew this truth. He said, ‘Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord’.
I never did find out why my workmate thought I deserved that promotion. I confess that I think she was right! I had worked hard for it. However, there is one reward which I don’t deserve, and didn’t earn – peace with God! Isn’t it wonderful to know that God is our exceeding great reward, just as He was Abram’s? We don’t deserve it, but Jesus earned it, and we can have it because of Him. Don’t let’s settle for anything less.