It is natural to want to be rewarded. There is an in-built mechanism that tells us that we will be rewarded if we work hard. Plant the seeds, water the garden, tend the weeds, and reap the harvest came from generations back. Sports figures determine their rewards by pay and trophies. Society says that they have been “robbed” when to tier sports figures end their careers without their walls decorated by at least one major, one championship ring, one gold medal, one high speed oval wins, or one Stanley Cup trophy. It doesn’t end with sports figures. Politicians, corporate executives, and even those working a trade all define and strive for success which is measured by rewards.
In this context it isn’t hard to believe that it is natural for us to assume that God does what God does for the reward. Ironically there are two ways to look at that word. If reward is defined as the “outcome” then I would say yes – God does what God does because he is driven by the outcome of unending love! Yes nothing in what God does can be ascribed as the “ends justifying the means”.
It is in the nuance of this understanding that life shifts. Why do you do what you are going to do today? Survival is a part of it but I would suggest in every human decision there is something more. We want to win. We want success. We want reward and recognition.
The model laid out by God in the Bible demonstrates the price of living a love-driven life. People will hate you, even among those who are very close to you. People will hurt you, verbally and physically. People will turn away from the beauty of truth that your life represents. Yet the outcome of love has been proven. God’s model is one we can follow. If we do we will be able to join the unending celebration!
“The slain Lamb is worthy! Take the power, the wealth, the wisdom, the strength! Take the honor, the glory, the blessing!” (Revelation 5.12)