Joyce Meyer - The Rewards Of Serving God
You know, we all really, in different ways, we look forward to reward. A lot of times, it's just little things but, you know, when we leave today and we fly home, I'm looking forward to a good meal. I'm looking forward to having what I lovingly call a pajama day tomorrow.
I'll just kind of hang out in something real comfortable and have a nice quiet day and recover and light a candle that smells real good and light my fireplace 'cause it's cold in my city right now. And I look forward to that. That's part of my reward. That's part of what helps me recover.
Are there any of you that wanna have a job and never get a pay check? We look forward to that reward for our hard work all week. The Bible even talks about farm animals and it says, "Don't muzzle the ox when it's treading out the grain". In other words, don't put a muzzle on it so it can't eat.
If you want something to keep working, it's got to have a reward in its life. And might I just throw this in? You might remember that with the people maybe that serve you or work for you or even your children. Don't just get all over them when they do the wrong thing. Reward them at different times in their life for doing the right thing.
I love to live with expectation. I really don't know what I'd be doing right now in my life if God hadn't taught me that it's good to expect him to do great things. David said, "I wait on the Lord. I expectantly wait on the Lord". It's not wrong to expect reward in your life.
1 Corinthians 3:8 says: "He who plants and he who waters are one in importance and esteem, working together toward the same purpose; but each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor". Everybody say, "I've got a reward coming". And you know, here's the good thing. Each one of us gets a reward for doing what God is asking us to do and what God is asking you to do may not be something all that exciting.
You might look at other people and think, "Well, boy, that would be exciting". Maybe God's asked you to do something where you never get noticed. Maybe God's asked you to do something where you don't really seem to get that much appreciation. Let's don't look to people for our reward. Let's look to God for our reward. Let's don't look to people. I mean, people should appreciate you but, you know what? Even if they don't, God appreciates you.
We need to look to God a lot more than we do to people. You know, even when I feel that I need encouragement, oh my gosh, I can remember so many years getting aggravated at Dave if I didn't feel like he was encouraging me when I needed it. Any of you do that? Nobody does that? I guess, you don't do that? No. Anybody ever get aggravated because you don't get the appreciation you feel like you need?
Well, people should appreciate you and they should verbalize it but you know what I've found out? If you try to make them give it to you, they're only gonna resent you. But if you go to God and, see, the good thing about your relationship with God is you can be open with him and you can talk to him about anything and you can share anything with him.
So I can go to God and say, "You know what, God? I am just tired. I've been working hard. I don't feel like I've really had that much appreciation that I feel. Can you send me what I need"? Now, I'm not going and getting mad at Dave because he's not giving it to me. But I'm going to God, and God can work through whoever he wants to to bring it to me and it's so much sweeter because then I know it was from God. It wasn't something that I squeezed out of somebody through trying to manipulate them and control them.
I'll tell you what's gonna be a major payday. When Jesus returns. Whoo, Jesus, hallelujah. Now, I don't mean this to sound morbid or anything even associated with negativity but, you know, because I'm well into the latter part of my life now.
I mean, actually, to tell you the truth, the longer you're here, the more tired you get of it. Just all the nonsense out in the world. It's just like I get tired of listening to the news, I get tired of cranky people. No wonder the apostle Paul said, "It would be better for me if I could go, but for your sake, I'm gonna stay". But isn't it wonderful to not have to be afraid of death but instead to actually look forward to the time when you're finished here?
I mean, I wanna stay here as long as God wants me and I'm not trying to die or looking to die; that's not what I mean. But it is good to be looking forward to promotion and to see leaving this earth as a promotion rather than something that's gonna be a terrible loss to you.
I don't know exactly what heaven's gonna be like but, man, I read it every now and then, "No more tears, no more crying, no more pain". I am so looking forward to getting out of this aching body. Amen? I don't want my feet to hurt anymore. I don't want no aches in my back. I don't want a headache. And I feel good. I'm not, like, a sick person but you know what? You've only got one of these and the older it gets the more you feel things.
Is anybody there? How many of you are looking forward to no drama, no emotional drama off of everybody? I mean, I am so done with drama, it's like, "Really, people? Just suck it up and move on with your life". We've all got our problems. No more crying, no more tears. Perfect love. Nobody mad at anybody. Wow, is that ever gonna be a major payday. And to live in God's presence.
C'mon, look at me. You're somebody that's gonna live forever and you're gonna see Jesus face to face. All I wanna do this afternoon is encourage you. I want you to go out of here excited. "Something good is gonna happen to me. I've got a reward coming in my life".
Revelation 22:12: "Behold, I (Jesus) am coming quickly, and my reward is with me," he's coming with rewards, "To give to each one according to the merit of his deeds (his earthly works, and his faithfulness)".
Now here's the thing. Please understand this. You're saved strictly by grace. It has nothing to do with anything that you do. If you don't understand that, then you can never even get a good start with God. By grace are you saved through faith. It is a gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. We're made right with God totally by the grace and the mercy of God and not according to anything that we do.
But the proper way to understand relationship with God is when you realize what he's done for you, how amazing it is that God sent his only son to die for you, to take the punishment for your sins and misdeeds and literally for the sins of all of the world. While we were still yet in sin, he died for us. When we didn't care anything about him at all, when we're totally ignoring him and living a life of sin and loving it, he died for us.
You know, the Bible says if he did all that while we were still in sin, just imagine what he might do for you now that you at least care a little bit and are making some little tiny effort to do what's right. We don't receive salvation through our works but we do receive rewards for our works when we get to heaven. So there is a motivation for doing what's right.
Number one, you wanna please God and just to show appreciation for what he's done for you. But you know, I'm kind of like, whatever the best is I can have, that's what I want. And so whatever's available in heaven, I wanna make sure that I'm not lazy here on earth and then I end up missing it. I wanna have the best that I can possibly have and I don't think that's the wrong attitude. I think it's a great attitude.
And when you realize how amazingly wonderful it is to have God in your life then you want to serve him all the days of your life. I don't know about you but I'm spending every day of my life not any longer trying to get everything I want 'cause I've been there, done that, and I can tell you what, you can get everything you want and you're still not gonna be happy.
The only thing that's ever gonna make you truly happy is to have a right relationship with God. That's why I can boldly say to people watching or maybe even in here today, if you do not have a right relationship with God you're never gonna be happy. Even if you're living in sin, knowing that you're doing something that's against the word of God but you're living in sin because you think that's the thing that's gonna make you happy, it is not making you happy and you are not happy and it will never make you happy.
If you're honest with yourself, you'll know that you're not really a happy person. You know, just getting your way doesn't make you happy. The only thing that really can give you real joy and peace is knowing that you're right with God. To the best of your ability and that doesn't mean you need to be perfect. Jesus was perfect for us. But it does mean that we should get up every day of our lives and we should serve him with our whole heart and do everything that we can to do all that God wants us to do.
That's what it means to be a serious christian. Being a serious christian is about a lot more than just going to church once a week and praying desperate prayers when we get in trouble. You haven't got anything better to do with your life than give it to Jesus. You know why? The amount of time you spend here is nothing compared to forever. Nothing compared to forever.
God rewards those who do what's right, the Bible says. I read you this earlier but Galatians 6:9: "Let us not grow weary and become discouraged in doing good for at the proper time we shall reap if we do not faint and give up and give in". You know what? If you're the only person that you know that's trying to do what's right, you keep doing what's right because you've got a reward coming, amen?
If you're the only teenager in your high school that seems to have any moral conscience at all and you're trying to do what's right, even if you grow up and you do not have one friend while you're going to school, I'll tell you what, you've got a friend that will never let you down. And you're better off with him than everybody else that you some young person's gonna hear that and it's gonna encourage them and make a difference for them in their life.
Satan will arrange for us to be rejected by people. That's one of the greatest hurts that people can have. You wanna do what's right, people come against you. When God called me to do what I'm doing, I lost every friend I had, got thrown out of my church. Oh, it was an exciting time. It was really exciting.
And I remember times of being on the kitchen floor on my knees and feeling the pain of that rejection so bad that I didn't feel like that I could stand it. But I felt something in my spirit. God's got something for me and I don't wanna miss what God's got for me. Even if I have to give up everybody else on this earth, I don't wanna miss what God has got for me.
C'mon, don't miss what God's got for you just to be accepted by somebody here on this earth that's not gonna care about you anyway when it all if you're the only believer in your family, don't you back down. If you're the only person on your job that seems to have any moral courage at all, don't back down. No matter how much fun people make of you, no matter how much you're persecuted you stick with it. You know why? You've got a reward coming. The time is gonna come.
I'll tell you a quick story that I like to tell. I worked at a company many years ago. This actually was before God called me into ministry but even back then I had a love for God. I didn't know anything really about serving God but I wanted to do what was right and I had a certain reverential fear of doing things that I knew were against the word of God.
And I worked at a company where the boss wanted me to help him, basically, steal some money from a customer. And many times out in the world today, you're kind of given the message if you don't compromise and do what we want you to, then you're not gonna be promoted. You're gonna lose your job. You're not gonna have any friends.
How many of you feel that pressure? Okay, so I'm gonna make this quick 'cause I've told this story a number of times. But it was a bookkeeping/accounting situation where a customer had overpaid their account and I was in charge of sending out the statements every month and he wanted me to not show that we owed them money and send them a statement that had a zero balance on it and us just keep the money.
Well, I ended up telling him and he was not a christian, "I can't do that. I am a christian and, for me, that would be wrong and I can't do it. I would feel like that I was stealing their money". Well, obviously, the look I got was not very pleasant. It was obvious that I had upset him, and I expected all day for him to come out and fire me before the end of the day. But because I did what was right, God rewarded me and, long story short, I ended up getting promoted, getting promoted, getting promoted, until nobody had any more authority in that company than me other than him. Only he had more authority than I did.
Let me tell you something, if you stand up and do what's right out in the world, it may look to you for a while like you've lost but you will win in the end. C'mon, does anybody need this today? Anybody need this encouragement to stand firm and stand up for what you believe is right? We've got too much moral compromise out in the world. We've gotta stand strong and not let the world scare us.
Can I tell you the truth? You can do without any of 'em if you have to. "Well, I don't wanna be lonely". Well, I don't either but I'd rather hang out with God who I know loves me than a bunch of people that I don't trust who are just trying to control me and manipulate me. You stick with God, you do what's right and you're gonna have a reward.
Psalm 58:11: "Men will say, 'surely there is a reward for the righteous'", whoo! "Surely there is a God who judges the earth".
Matthew 5:6: "Blessed joyful, nourished by God's goodness are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled and completely satisfied,"
Do you know how wonderful it is to lay down at night and just know that even though you didn't have a perfect day, you missed it in some points, that you really did try to do your best for God. You made some hard choices and you stuck with God and, man, you're gonna get a good night's sleep.
I was reading a couple of the psalms this morning and in each psalm that I read David said, "I will both lay down and sleep in peace". I like that. He didn't just lay down. A lot of us lay down and we don't ever sleep. He laid down and he slept in peace.
I've been in bed with a guilty conscience and it is not comfortable. How many of you know what I'm talking about? It's much better to choose the hard thing during the day and get a good night's sleep than it is to go with your flesh and do what's easy and then roll around in bed all night and not get a good night's sleep.
"Those who hunger and thirst after righteousness," see, I don't even think it's so much that we do everything right, if we want to do everything that's right. I don't do what's right all the time. I make a lot of mistakes. I have bad days. I have flesh days. But I am sorry, as soon as God convicts me of wrong behavior, I'm sorry, I repent, I don't wanna act like that. I want with all of my heart to do what's right. And you know what? I believe you do too.
I don't think you would have taken a Saturday to be here if you didn't wanna improve and do what's right. And you know what? You've got a reward coming. You know what it is? You're gonna have a satisfaction, whoo! "Those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, they shall be completely filled and find a satisfaction in their life that nothing else can give them". The righteous will be rewarded with peace.
Isaiah 32:17 says: "And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness will be quietness and confident trust forever".
James 1:12 says: "Blessed happy, prosperous, and favored is the man who is steadfast under trial, he perseveres when he's tempted and tested and tried, he's faithful to the end," and the Bible says, "God will give him the crown of life".
And listen, if you have to live in a tiny apartment that's not big enough for you all your life, you're getting a mansion when you get to glory. "In my father's house are many mansions. If it were not so I would have told you".
I'm gonna tell you the truth, I don't think we think enough about heaven. I really don't. I think we need to encourage one another a little bit more that this is all gonna be over a lot quicker than what we think it will be. Don't waste all your time here, trying to get things that are perishable and are gonna disappear in the twinkling of an eye.
Do you know the Bible doesn't put it like this but in essence this is what it's saying. That everything that's here on this earth is already decaying and passing away. Let's invest now for eternity. Let's spend our time now doing things like what you're doing here today so when you go back out in the world next week you can go as a better representative of Christ.
You've got a reward coming. You've got a reward coming in your life. C'mon, we're almost done. The rewards of generosity, man, I've got seven or eight scriptures on that. Just listen to this. "Bring all the tithe (the whole tenth of your income) into the storehouse, that there might be food in my house, and now test me by it, says the Lord of hosts, and see if I will not open the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing so great that you cannot contain it".
Well, there it is. You give up something and you get more. And if that's not enough, how about this? "And I will rebuke the devourer for your sake". Your stuff's gonna last longer than somebody else's. When the repairman comes to your house, he may fix two things for the price of one. God's gonna give you favor. That's another reward that we get in our life is divine favor from God.
Don't you love it when you go in a restaurant and they put you in the best seat in the house? Don't you love it when, I don't know, they drop your fork and decide to bring you a free dessert? Don't you love it when you go shopping and they say, "You know what? There's gonna be a sale that doesn't start 'til Monday but I'm gonna go ahead and give you the sale price now"? Don't just take those things as coincidence. That's part of your reward. C'mon, you've got a reward coming. That's part of your reward.