March 15, 2014
READ: 1 Thessalonians 2:1-20
What gives us hope and joy and what will be our proud reward and crown as we stand before our Lord Jesus when he returns? It is you! Yes, you are our pride and joy (vv.19-20).
The X Prize Foundation attempts to solve the world’s problems by offering large cash prizes to whatever team can fix them first. Winning teams have built a spacecraft that can fly beyond the earth’s atmosphere twice in 2 weeks and cars that achieve 100 miles per gallon. Other teams are trying to land a robot on the moon, build a machine that can quickly sequence each person’s genome and create a portable device that can diagnose a patient’s condition. These goals will probably be met, for people will work hard for extortionate amounts of money.
The success of the X Prize helps to remind me that God offers something far greater than money to those who help solve the world’s greatest need.
Paul told the Thessalonians that he gladly worked hard amid intense persecution to bring them to Christ. He didn’t sacrifice to hear their praise or to “get [their] money”, but for the joy of having them stand beside him when the Lord returns (1 Thessalonians 2:5-6,19). Jesus “has ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). What could be more satisfying than knowing you had a hand in bringing some of them home?
Jesus compared God to a man who entrusted his money to servants while he was away. Those who used his wealth to advance his kingdom were told, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21).
Do you believe these rewards are real? Then run for the prize! —Mike Wittmer
Ruth 1:1-22 ‹365-day plan
Read Acts 20:13-38 to learn how Paul devoted himself to win God’s prize.
What sacrifices have you made to tell others about Jesus? What more might you contribute to the cause? Why?