IS IT WORTH IT?
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 15:58
Have you ever played golf? I think it is the hardest, most frustrating game on the planet. The thing that makes it frustrating is that it looks so easy. Watching Tiger Woods swing the club makes you think, "I could do that. That doesn't look too hard." (Click Here To See Tiger's swing).
Well, former NBA all-star, Charles Barkley plays golf. He is a great athlete, has taken lots of golf lessons, has practiced a ton, has the best equipment, is buddies with Tiger and has seen him swing a zillion times. Click here to see how Charles swings the club.
To be sure, few golfers are as bad as Sir Charles, but the point is GOLF IS HARD! And it is easy for golfers to get so frustrated with their pitiful performance that they conclude, "This is just not worth it!"
IS IT WORTH IT TO SERVE JESUS?
The Christian life can produce the same question - Is it worth it to serve Jesus? Does it really pay? A man named Asaph in Psalm 73 asks this exact question. He looked at the people who did not serve God and noticed that they were doing well... much better in fact than he was doing. They did not seem to have problems, troubles, or difficulties like Asaph did. They were rich and happy and having a great time doing whatever they pleased. So Asaph was honestly struggling with this question - Does it really pay to follow the Lord?
Lots of Christians see those who don't know Christ partying and playing and cutting corners and breaking the rules and doing whatever they want... and they seem to get all the breaks, have all the fun, get all the promotions, and make all the money. When we see this happen, we compare ourselves and wonder, "What gives God? Is it really worth it to serve You?"
Let me tell you... IT IS WORTH IT!! "Your toil is not in vain (empty, futile, foolish, wasted) in the Lord." It pays to serve Jesus!! It pays in three areas.
1. It pays in this life. Jesus does not promise His followers health, wealth and problem-free living, but He does promise love, joy and peace for those who walk with Him (Gal. 5:22-23). He promises to never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). He promises His divine help in all our circumstances of life (Heb. 13:6). He promises peace in the midst of our storms (Phil. 4:7). He promises that when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we need not fear, for He is with us!
2. It pays in death. When a non-Christian dies, that one does not go to heaven (see Luke 16, the rich man and Lazarus). Everyone who end up in hell will be there because "they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved... but took pleasure in wickedness" (2 Thes. 2:10-12). They chose their sin over God's Son. But when a Christian dies, he/she goes straight to heaven to be with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). AND at the rapture, he/she gets a new body... a glorified body... a body just like the one Jesus has. Christians will one day mock death saying, "O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting?" The grave cannot hold the child of God.
3. It pays in eternity. The Lord keeps score and rewards those who serve Him. All true Christians (you must be born again) go to heaven... but those who are faithful to the Lord and really live for Christ receive great rewards from the King of Kings for their faithfulness. Those who are unfaithful and live for self suffer the loss of rewards. I am not entirely sure what the rewards will be... but I know that the Lord is GREAT in grace and generosity. When He rewards, it will be amazing and abundant and will last for all eternity. As Chuck Swindoll once said, "We have all eternity to enjoy our rewards... but only a short time on earth to win them."
My friend, if you are tempted to throw in the towel and go back to your old way of live, remember that it pays to serve Jesus. Though the pathway to glory may sometimes seem dreary, it pays to serve Jesus... it pays ever day and every step of the way. Stay faithful to Him. You will be so glad you did!
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Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast. Click here to become a ministry partner.