How did I miss this all these years?
Why do we serve God? Why do we go to church? Why do we strive and strain to live holy lives? Why do we read our Bibles and memorize scripture serve and give?
I used to think we did it because God said so. Or we did it because this is what pleased God and it is all about pleasing God. We certainly didn’t do it for any selfish reason—because it is good for us. Doing it because it is good for us would surely be wrong.
How wrong I was.
I read this passage this morning:
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. — The New International Version. 2011 (Mt 6:16–18). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
When Jesus taught he appealed to reward. Notice the last sentence which says, “Your Father will reward you.” We serve God for reward. God is a rewarder. My favorite verse says we cannot come to Him except for reward. (Hebrews 11.6)
It was Satan, not God that asked, “Does Job serve God for nothing?” As if, if Job were really spiritual, he would serve God for nothing. That seems like the spiritual thing to do. But that is not what Jesus taught. Jesus appealed to reward. If you study it, you will find that he did it a lot!
Oh, and by the way, God did say so and we do well to serve for that reason. It does please God and we do well to serve God for that reason. The point is, there is no conflict. What pleases God is good for me. I don’t have to choose between serving God and doing what leads to a great life for me. They are one and the same.