Thursday, November 05, 2009

Rewards and behavior

“As humans, we always seem to be looking for a punishment- or reward-based motivation to keep our behavior on track. While we’re more apt to dismiss a blatant guilt motivation, the picture often painted is that God will be doling out mansions of various sizes and other merit-based awards when we hit heaven. Christians have commonly used the term rewards to refer to extra square footage or certificates redeemable for crowns and jewels in heaven’s gift shop.

“In reality, the term rewards does not appear anywhere in the New Testament. The apostle Paul speaks of a “reward” (singular, not plural) or a “prize” in the context of running a race and reaching the end. But Paul also notes that everything else is like garbage next to knowing Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:8). Given this truth, do we really believe that God will be awarding larger homes and nicer jewelry to those who depended on Jesus more?

“God doesn’t want us to think and act in certain ways because we’re seeking to accumulate heavenly merchandise. Just as Paul was willing to lose all things for the sake of knowing Christ, we too should make it our agenda to know him. For more wealth in heaven? No, we want to know him simply because it’s the greatest thing going on planet Earth.”—The Naked Gospel, pages 168-169

<idle musing>
Kind of doesn't sit too well in our over-merchandised society, does it? Kingdom values usually don't!
</idle musing>

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