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Most people are motivated by the prospect of reward. In fact, a lot of people will only do the right thing if there's a reward for doing it. While our motives may not always be pure, God has wired us up to look for a reward.
Thankfully, God doesn't design us in such a way that we desire to be rewarded without also promising rewards for those who serve Him well. Which is amazing considering the fact that we don't really deserve anything at all!
Rev 22:12 And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
God rewards each believer according to his work.
Mat 6:1 Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Mat 6:19-20 Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
First, do not look for your reward here on earth.
Those who have their reward here on earth, won't get it in heaven, so don't look for credit to be given to you in this life.
If you do something good, and no one thanks you, consider it a victory because God Himself will reward you.
If you are offended and upset because no one acknowledged your work, it is an indication that you were doing it for yourself rather than the Lord.
Col 3:24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
1 Cor 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labour.
God rewards us according to our service for Him.
Mat 5:11-12 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. (12) Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Those who are persecuted and slandered for Christ's sake will receive a great reward from the Lord.
This is not the same as having people dislike you because you act like a jerk!
Heb 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, (25) choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, (26) esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.
Those who make the choice to suffer for the Lord rather than "enjoy the passing pleasures of sin" will be rewarded.
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
God rewards those who exercise faith in diligently seeking Him.
1 Cor 3:12-15 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, (13) each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. (14) If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. (15) If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Each one will be rewarded according to the quality of their work; notice that God does not look at the quantity of our works, but their quality.
If you like these Topical Bible Studies, don't forget to check out our Expository Bible Studies too.