Do you desire to make it into God’s Kingdom? If so, that is a admirable goal, but is that enough? Is there a higher goal than this? After all, didn’t Jesus Christ say “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things (material necessities) shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33)?
But is this goal sufficient? Should a zealous Christian have an even higher goal, within the overall goal of entering the Kingdom of God? Should you and I be seeking more than just entering God’s Kingdom, just making it into the Family of God?
Should you as a Christian be content to seek no higher goal in God’s government than merely to be a “doorkeeper”? After all, didn’t even King David say, “For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand? I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness” (Ps. 84:10).
Did David mean that he was content just to seek the lowest position in God’s government? No, what David meant, was it would be far more desirable to be a mere doorkeeper in God’s government, than to have an honored position in this world.
The Bible clearly reveals that God is not pleased to see us seeking merely to enter His Kingdom. God wants us to enter with flying colors, and God hopes we will lawfully strive for more than just making it into His Family.
Notice what the apostle Peter said: “Brothers, you have been called and chosen; work all the harder to justify it. If you do all these things there is no danger that you will ever fall away. In this way you will be granted admittance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:10-11).
The apostle Paul makes it very plain that on judgment day that God will reward every man: “Your stubborn refusal to repent is only adding to the anger God will have toward you on that day of anger when his just judgment will be made known. He will repay each one as his works deserve” (Rom. 2:5-6).
Question, should you and I seek more than eternal life? More than a place in God’s Kingdom; Paul again gives us the answer. “To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life” (Rom. 2:7).
God has promised to give us much more than immortality, more than eternal life in His Kingdom, He will give us glory, honor and peace (v. 10).
Now some will make it into God’s government, but will not receive a very good reward, simply because they have not diligently served God to the utmost of their abilities. They have not served God with all their might; have not sought lawfully for a greater reward in His Kingdom. God wants us to receive a full reward. “Take care of yourselves; don’t throw away all the labor that has been spent on you, but persevere till you receive your full reward” (II John 8).
God is going to reward us according to the actual fruits which we have produced, according to our works, and all of us will stand before Jesus Christ at his second coming. “ For every one of us will have to stand without pretence before Christ our judge, and we shall each receive our due for what we did when we lived in our bodies, whether it was good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).
Jesus Christ said in His parable of the sower, that some will produce no fruit at all; others bear only 30 fold and some will produce 100 fold. Should you and I be happy just to produce 30 fold or 60 fold, or should we strive to produce 100 fold which would make God very happy?
John tells us, “It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit” (John 15:8).
Just how will Jesus Christ judge us? How will he determine whether we have borne much fruit? Whether it is 30, or 60 or a 100 fold? The parable of the talents gives part of the answer; you will find that in Mathew 25:14-30.
Now one thing we learn from this parable, we are not all born equal; we don’t all have the same talents and abilities. “And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, to every man according to his individual ability” (Matt. 25:15).
We all know that some people are born with greater talents and abilities than others, but God expects us to make the most of whatever He has given us. God wants us to use our talents in some gainful way so that we can gain other talents in addition to what we have been given at birth.
“Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more, Sir, he said, you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made, His master said to him, well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater: come and join in your master’s happiness” (Matt. 25:19).
Now Jesus Christ said the same thing to the servant with two talents, well done. But, not so with the servant with one talent. This servant looked upon Jesus as a hard man or dishonest man, and didn’t do anything with his talent. “As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth” (v. 30).
Now the parable of the pounds in Luke 19:12-27) shows a different aspect of how God will judge His people. In this parable Christ called His ten servants and delivered unto each a pound, then He told them to “Occupy till I come” (v. 13). The word occupy means to gainfully use or profitable employ by trading.
“Now on his return, having received his appointment as King, he sent for those servants to whom he had given the money to find out what profit each had made” (v. 15).
The one servant had gained ten pounds, Christ said, “well done, my good servant,” so this servant will be given a great deal of responsibilities. The next servant wasn’t quite so diligent, he gained only five pounds. Notice what Christ said: “You shall be in charge of five cities.” Christ did not say “thou good servant.”
The one servant who did nothing with his pound, thought Jesus was unrighteous, an exacting man. He took his pound from him and gave it to the person who had ten. “But as for my enemies who did not want me for their king, bring them here and execute them in my presence” (v. 27).
The servants who were standing by thought this seemed unwise, if not unjust: “Lord he hath ten pounds.” But Jesus reveals that those who have already proved they can exercise greater authority, greater responsibility, and greater rulership are more deserving and capable. They are to be given added responsibilities.
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard Matthew 20: 1-16 shows that God will take another important factor, the time element into account when judging and rewarding His people. In this parable all Christians are likened unto laborers in a vineyard. The landowner hired some laborers early in the morning, he agreed to pay each a penny a day, later others were hired “at the third hour (9 A.M.). Still others at the sixth (12 noon) and ninth (3 P.M.) hour. The landowner promised to give what was right to those hired at the 3rd, 6th and 9th hours.”
Some people were still standing idle near the end of the day; they hadn’t been hired at all. So the landowner went out in the afternoon and hired them at “about the 11th hour.” Now it came time to settle up, so the ones who had worked only an hour or so received a full day’s wage. The ones who had worked most, or all day saw this, and were unhappy, or at least they thought, we are going to get much more because we have worked all day.
But they received only a penny, exactly what the landowner had agreed to pay them. They were very upset at their wages; they thought they should receive more money; the landowner gives his answer (vs. 12-15).
Now what does this parable mean to you and me? The day mentioned in this parable represents the life span of each Christian. Some are called into God’s Church early in the morning, (younger age) others are called at noon (middle age), some are not called until they approach the sunset of life, (old age).
So when Jesus Christ returns to this earth to judge every Christian according to his works, He will take this very important time factor into account.
So those of us, who were called early in life, will be expected to have accomplished more in God’s service than hose who were called later in life.
Now when we put together the parables of the pounds, the talents and the laborers in the vineyard, we are able to see exactly how God will judge us when given us our reward.
The parable of the talents shows that we are not born equal, some people receive different talents and abilities at birth, and then at conversion God adds spiritual talent and gifts according to each person’s natural abilities.
The parable of the pounds shows that of those who are of equal talents and abilities (as represented by the pounds), some use their God-given talents more diligently than others, the result they will receive greater responsibilities in God’s kingdom. The parable of the laborers reveals that God will take other things into account, other than innate ability, when judging us. He will take into consideration the amount of time which we are given, after our conversion. Those who were converted early in life will be held accountable for having overcome and grown more. As we can see God’s judgments are just and fair.
This is how the apostle Paul puts it: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways pasting finding out” (Rom. 11:33)!
God not only promised immortality or eternal life in His Kingdom, but also glory and honor in the position of service or responsibility, which He will grant us in His Kingdom according to our diligence here and now.
Now it is true that the eyes and ears and mind do not fully grasp the eternal blessings which God has prepared for us and we do but look through a mirror dimly at those blessings our minds have been illuminated by.
David writes “In thy presence is fullness of joy and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (Ps. 16:11). Take a glimpse of your future by reading Revelation, chapters 21-22. Do we now understand that our desire should be more than eternal life? God wants to give us honor and glory, the more fruit we produce, the greater the reward will be.
Moses understood this: “Rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward” (Heb. 11:25-26). Moses was willing to suffer reproach, affliction, privation and humiliation in order to receive “the recompense of the reward” in the kingdom of God.
It isn’t wrong for us to seek honor and favor in God’s sight, neither is it wrong to seek promotion from God, that is if we are willing to work for it, if we are willing to pay the price. “For promotion comes neither from the east, nor the west, nor the south, but God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another” (Ps. 75:6-7).
“How can you believe which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that comes from God only” (John 5:44). Seek for glory and honor from God but don’t become filled with vain ambition or with self-exaltation.
Don’t follow the example of Lucifer. He wanted to exalt himself, he was not content to merely remain in the high office which God put him in. Read Isa. 14:13-14. Lucifer wanted to be equal with God; he wasn’t content to serve as an exalted archangel.
David’s son Absalom had the wrong kind of ambition to fill his heart. And we know the end result of what he did; a dart thrust through his heart and ended his wretched revolt against his own father.
The mother of James and John came to Jesus Christ and wanted Him to grant her two sons; one to sit on his right hand the other his left. “To sit on my right hand, and on my left, it not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father” (Matt. 20: 23).
It isn’t Jesus Christ who places the various ones in the government or Kingdom of God that is the Father’s direct responsibility.
Don’t be content with just making it into God’s Kingdom, seek to live full, abundant productive lives in God’s service, strive to produce a 100 fold here and now, so we can receive a greater position of responsibilities in God’s Kingdom.
“Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Rev. 22:12). Keep this promise foremost in our minds and serve God to the very utmost of our abilities, if we do this, we will not receive 30 fold or 60 fold but 100 fold in the Kingdom of God.