Humility and Rewards.

Humility & Rewards

Is it okay to seek for rewards in life?

Looking to the reward.The Godly Man: When God Touches a Man's Life

Some might wonder whether it is proper to look to the reward that is promised along with our humble periods of life. Numerous scriptures encourage us to look to the reward as a motivating factor in keeping faithful.

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The whole Suffering Servant section in Isaiah 52:13 to 53 starts off with a strong pronouncement of His great reward. We can only suppose that this became a motivating factor for the Messiah. Would He die if there was no reward? Would He suffer if the captives were not set free? The very first words mentioned are all about reward. The last section further elaborates on what was earlier brought up.

Isaiah 52:13
Behold, My servant will prosper, He will be high and lifted up, and greatly exalted.

Isaiah 53:10-12
But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.

As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities.

Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.

Before we look at the ins and outs of our proposed questions, let us first look elsewhere in Scripture for promises given to the humble.

2 Chronicles 12:7

And when the LORD saw that they humbled themselves, the word of the LORD came to Shemaiah, saying, "They have humbled themselves so I will not destroy them, but I will grant them some [measure] of deliverance, and My wrath shall not be poured out on Jerusalem by means of Shishak.

2 Chronicles 32:26

However, Hezekiah humbled the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the LORD did not come on them in the days of Hezekiah.

2 Chronicles 34:27

"Because your heart was tender and you humbled yourself before God, when you heard His words against this place and against its inhabitants, and [because] you humbled yourself before Me, tore your clothes, and wept before Me, I truly have heard you," declares the LORD

Psalm 37:11

But the humble will inherit the land, And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity. (see Matthew 5:5)

Proverbs 15:33

The fear of the LORD is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor [comes] humility.

Proverbs 22:4

The reward of humility [and] the fear of the LORD Are riches, honor and life.

Proverbs 29:23

A man's pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.

Matthew 23:12

"And whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.

1 Peter 5:6

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,

Why would rewards be wrong?

Some propose that any reward would sully any pure ambitions. Why? They think there should be the service without the reward to foster genuine service. But this needs to be balanced with two truths.

Sons not slaves
God treats us as sons. He wants to lift us up. Anything good and honorable that can lift us further toward that goal is good. Thinking about His reward is honorable. We are taught in many places to aspire His coming and the associated rewards.

Matthew 10:42 "And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I say to you he shall not lose his reward."

2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. If we were but slaves and were always going to be slaves, then we would be taking a honor that was not ours.

Jesus in John 14:2 says, "...if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." The Lord's intent, at the end age, for His children is to bless and reward His faithful children. The test of sonship is confirmed by our humble service and rewarded with great fanfare.

Faith building

When we gaze into the eternity and think about the reward, we deepen our relationship and trust in Him. Abraham, Moses and others left the earthly for the heavenly. They chose by faith to reject what they could see for what only God could give them in the future. Without faith one cannot please Him. With faith, we can grow closer and closer.

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16).

The theme of reward is scattered throughout the scriptures including the famous Isaiah 53. They affirm that those being humbled are not aimlessly being troubled, but that God is working out a better plan. We must remember to first embrace what we might meet on that humble path that God has designed for us but always remember that one day the burden of humility and suffering will be removed. We will then be crowned with God's revealed presence and receive other things that He has prepared for us.

If we feel reluctant to fully accept this excitement for reward, then we need to reexamine the scriptures' teaching on hope for eternal rewards. Rewards speak of hope and faith as well as a good and loving Lord and Savior.

Humble, not Proud: A Biblical series on Humility

The Pattern of Humility Moses & Humility
Kinds of Humility Pride replaced with Humility
Jesus, Pioneer of Humility Humility in Ministry
Humility and Leadership Steps towards Humility
Dying to Self Testimonies on Humility
The Godly Man Series: Pure heart, not Divided, Righteousness not compromise, Fear God not fear man, Goodness and Contentment, Waiting upon God, Faith and unfaithfulness, Truth not deception, Love not lusts, Grace and graciousness
Righteousness, not Compromise
Grace and Graciousness
Truth, Not Deception Faith and Faithfulness
Goodness and Contentment Fear God, Fear not Man
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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Paul J. Bucknell