The first time our family hiked the Grand Canyon, some of us were dragging. And then my father promised ice cream when we got to the top. I won’t say which of my siblings, but one of us became very motivated and was basically the first to the rim, because...ice cream, duh!
Somehow we think this is a childish attitude, to do something hard because there is a reward at the end. But really why else would we do something difficult? To help someone else – that’s a reward. To avoid punishment or pain (or a nagging boss) – also rewards. To make something else possible, to gain a sense of accomplishment or significance, to enjoy rest – all rewards.
So there is nothing unspiritual about God promising followers of Jesus rewards in heaven. There is nothing immature about anticipating eternity in paradise. Nothing second class about reminding ourselves and others that the trials of this world will be fade, pain will be left behind, conflict will cease, and we will be changed, fully healed. The glories of eternity will fully eclipse our suffering and all evil will be lost in the face of our Savior, Jesus. Those are the promises.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18 (And that was written by a man who was stoned, beaten, put on trial, imprisoned, and shipwrecked for the gospel of Jesus of Christ.)
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