God’s Word for You
Proverbs 27:18 Reward
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, June 10, 2020
18 Just as he who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
so also he who looks after his master will be honored.
This proverb is about the benefit or profit of service. A man who tends a fig tree, or any fruit tree, will get to eat the fruit. A man who looks after his master will benefit in many ways, one of which will be the honor his master gives him. A servant can and should expect to earn his keep, to have a place to sleep, food to eat and water to drink, and to earn pay beyond these things. But a good reputation will also be something he earns if he is a good servant.
In the same way, the servants of Christ anticipate some reward in heaven, not because of any particular service on earth, but because Jesus uses this language when he speaks of heaven. To the persecuted he says: “Great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:12). To those who secretly give to the needy, he says: “Do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4). And to those who pray in secret, he says: “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:6), and so on, also about grieving or fasting in secret (Matthew 6:17-18) and loving your enemies (Luke 6:35).
Certain heavenly rewards are spoken of for all Christians. We will enjoy freedom from all evil (1 Corinthians 15:25-26). We will have freedom from all sin (Hebrews 12:1,23). We will have freedom from temptation, trials, and persecution (James 1:12; 1 Peter 4:12-13, etc.). We will also be free of all the consequences of sin: “He will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth. The Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 25:8). In general, our present grief will disappear, and our present happiness will increase: “You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy” (John 16:20).
One part of our reward (blessing) in heaven is that, assuming that we will converse with one another there (that is, the saints and angels, as we see when Moses and Elijah speak with Jesus, Luke 9:30-31), the question sometimes is asked: Will we grieve over the sins of our lifetime? How can we speak of salvation without speaking of sin, and if we are honest about it, without specifically speaking of our personal sins? Will we not still feel pain over having sinned against our Lord, who forgave us? The song will be sung: “You are worthy… because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). And there are other passages that speak of us praising God for saving us (Revelation 1:5-6, etc.). So will there be some sense of memory of our sins that, along with our tears, will be wiped away? We can’t answer this, but we trust in God. We are assured by Moses, Jesus, and the apostles that our joy will be complete (Deuteronomy 16:15; John 16:24; 2 John 12), and we can be content with that knowledge. Most importantly, we should remember that these rewards are not based on our merits, but on the merits of Jesus our Savior. Whatever he chooses to give us will give him glory, even honor that he might give to you or some other Christian. Our attitude should be: “I will praise God and give him glory when he honors any Christian, because there we see his work among mankind. In the meantime, I will look after my master’s fruit trees and the other things he has put into my care and give him glory with my humble service. This is what he has given me to do, and so I do it.”
Pastor Timothy Smith