There is going to come a time of testing at Christ’s Judgment Day to see what kind of material each builder has used. Everyone’s work will be put through the fire so that all can see whether or not it keeps its value, and what was really accomplished.
Then every workman who has built on the foundation with the right materials, and whose work still stands, will get his pay. But if the house he has built burns up, he will have a great loss. He himself will be saved, but like a man escaping through a wall of flames. ~ 1 Corinthians 3:13
The Rewards for Us in Heaven
Paul is telling us that one day we will get our “pay” or a prize for the work that we accomplished here on earth.
The only prize we will get in heaven that makes sense is a closeness to God. Anything else will seem like nothing to us when the presence of God is before us. We won’t want anything else. We won’t desire anything else. We won’t long for anything else but to draw close to God. Nothing will be important anymore but Him.
Perhaps Paul is saying that the amount we draw near to God and walk in love while on earth will determine the level of closeness to God we will receive when we are in heaven? He says that all believers will be saved, but some will barely make it through, and he will lose much in the process. The only thing that would be of loss in heaven would be the gift of a closeness to God, because that is all we will want.
Let’s look at 2 rewards that are mentioned in the Bible:
Luke 15:6-7 says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.”
This suggests that it is possible to have more joy in heaven. This means that it is possible to have less joy in heaven. There surely is always joy in heaven, but some may get to experience higher levels of joy.
In Matthew 19:28 Jesus says to His apostles: “I assure you that when the world is made new and the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne, you who have been my followers will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
This suggests that God will reward us with different levels of responsibility. To us responsibility may seem like a burden, but when we are with God in eternal life it will be a great reward and privilege to get to work closely with God and the tasks He specifically gives to us. Jesus said, “For the man who uses well what he is given shall be given more, and he shall have abundance. But from the man who is unfaithful, even what little responsibility he has shall be taken from him. (Matthew 25:29)
Both of these levels of rewards, joy and responsibility, come from God. All good things come from Him. The more we seek in Him now the more we will receive from Him in eternity.
Your Goal for Today
If we are going to get different levels of rewards from God one day, we must ask ourselves: what is my goal for today? If there is a prize ahead of us, there is a goal in front of us. The goal is God. Draw near to Him. Follow His ways. Obey His commands. Pray to Him. Seek Him. Serve how He wants you to serve. Live how He wants you to live. Your prize will be great.
For those who don’t understand that there is a prize just ahead of this short life, their goal to draw near to God will be slim. And, therefore, their prize in eternity will reflect the measure of their slim goal.
How close do you want to be to God in eternity? How much joy do you want to have forever? What responsibilities do you hope God will give you – tasks that you will personally be in charge of from God Himself? How much these things mean to you will determine how you live your life today.
I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us. Philippians 3:14