The Crown of Glory:
“Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” I Peter 5:2-4
“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us exercise them accordingly; if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his service; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.” Romans 12:6-8
“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11-13
As a christian, we all should know these verses. These verses tell us that we have been given work to do here after salvation. Salvation is free but there is work to be done. Ephesians tells us that we are saved by grace; it is not a result of our goodness, deeds or service. That same chapter tells us “we are created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:8-10.
Our reward in heaven will reflect how much we have done with what we have been given. Have we become what God intended us to be? Have we been faithful to do the good works He prepared beforehand?
The crown of glory will be given to those who equipped the saints, who used their efforts to build the body of Christ. Yes, it is a pastor’s crown or a minister’s crown. BUT…. we are ALL ministers! If you are a Christian, you are a minister and if you are a minister then you have a ministry. Something I heard from a dear pastor teacher. Thank you God for the pastors that are faithful in the ministry of equipping the body. Now the pastor may have done his job, but we are also have a responsibility to carry out our ministry. If you are not feeling equipped, dear brother or sister, may I please exhort you? Have you done you part in exercising your gift? Your pastor or your teacher can give you the instructions, the insights into the Word of God that should guide you but you have to use them, exercise them, “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
I have been challenged by reading Dr. Erwin Lutzer’s book, Your Eternal Reward: Triumph and Tears at the Judgement Seat of Christ”. Dr Lutzer quotes A.J. Gordon, “I cannot think of a final divine reckoning which shall assign the same rank in glory, the same degree of joy to a lazy, indolent and unfruitful Christian as to an ardent, devoted, self-denying Christian. If this life is a training ground for greater responsibilities, believers will be thoroughly judged; then once eternity benefits they will differ in glory as lightbulbs differ in brightness.”
From the same book, Earl Radmacher is quoted. “The person I am becoming today, is preparing me for the person I shall be for all of eternity”
Sometimes we need a good long look at what our souls look like. Are we changing into the image of Christ? Or are we becoming more and more like the world? Are we laying up treasures in heaven or accumulating treasures here on earth?
The reality is we must be committed to one side or the other. No man can serve two masters.
We must chose as Joshua did in Joshua 24:15 “If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.”