Following up on the reflections on glory in yesterday’s sermon. It is normal for us to want to be recognized, appreciated and rewarded when we do a good thing. This normal desire leads to a fantasy, that some person of power, wealth, beauty, status, importance, brilliance will see some little thing we’ve done and elevate us for it.
There are a number of passages in the New Testament where Jesus talks about this.
- “well done good and faithful servant”
- “do not do you works before men…”
- The parable of the sheep and the goats
- “take the lowest seat…let the master of the banquet elevate you…”
We do, however, long to have a person do this for us. We may fantasize about this recognition. This is underneath the talent shows on TV. We long to be discovered, recognized, rewarded, elevated, given wealth and power and fame. All of this comes from God-given roots with in us.
On the flip side we sometimes are angry, bitter, despairing when this doesn’t happen. You meet people who feel that they should be recognized but are not. We see this sometimes of people whose accomplishments we see but don’t value.
Why is it great to be a Christian?
If you actually do something good, valuable, praise-worthy, then your Father in heaven does see it, and he will exalt you no matter if anyone else recognizes, sees, or rewards you. The one who is most brilliant, most beautiful, most wise, most wealthy, most powerful sees, knows, values and can give you the kind of honor, esteem, recognition that no one else in this world can give. They also judge fairly and so together with the true honor also comes true humility, the kind of humility that comes when you know the thing you have produced is beyond you, and is in fact attributable to the giver of all good things Himself.
To not be a Christian, or at least a theist means that if you in fact do do something praiseworthy, it is lost in the all engrossing loss that is history where all things vanish away in vanity never to be seen, valued, heard from or remembered. What a crushing thought.