ODJ: a prize awaits

February 15, 2013 

READ: 2 Timothy 4:1-8 

Now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of His return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing (v.8).more›

How do I decide what to write in my ODJ article? Each month I move down the list of 66 books in the Bible, and pick a passage from three books to write on. But sometimes I’ll write on the passage that I’m currently studying. Interestingly I’ve noticed that quite a number of my articles are on Christian service. So I wondered: How many ODJ readers are actively serving God?

Today’s passage is once again on Christian service, and I pray that God will use it to minister to you. As a servant of God, do you know that a prize awaits you? What prize? you might ask. The Lord, the righteous Judge, will give you the prize when He returns. It’s the “crown of righteousness” (2 Timothy 4:8). Count on it. The prize is yours.

But why? Because I’ve fought the good fight, finished the race, remained faithful? Not exactly. The apostle Paul says that this prize is “for all who eagerly look forward to His appearing” (v.8). Naturally, if we eagerly anticipate His return, we will be faithful in service.

Theologian William Barclay explained: “When the [Roman] Emperor was due to visit any place, everything was put in perfect order. The streets were swept and decorated and all work was up to date so that the town might be fit for the epiphaneia [“appearing”] of the Emperor. So Paul says to Timothy: “You know what happens when any town is expecting the epiphaneia of the Emperor; you are expecting the epiphaneia of Jesus Christ. Do your work in such a way that all things will be ready whenever He appears. ”
Fix your eyes on the hope of Jesus’ return, and like Paul you’ll be able to finish well. —Poh Fang Chia

Read Revelation 22:7-21 to capture the wonder of the glorious day when Jesus returns.
How would the knowledge that Jesus is coming soon shape the way you serve today? What does receiving the crown of righteousness mean to you?