We live in a "have it now" world. We hardly have to wait for anything! Our society is an instantaneous one. Someone said the next thing will be Toss-A-Burger. You reserve your burger online in advance. When it's time to eat, you simply drive "by" the drive-through window and someone tosses your lunch into your car. You don't even have to stop. Make sure your car window is down!
Why wait...when you can have it now, pay for it later. Why wait when you can spend your tax return before it is even issued! I remember when Connie and I purchased our first car. It was a 1974 Chevy Vega station wagon. We had to wait days for our credit to be reviewed, and finally approved. I was a bit nervous, but I didn't lose my sanity over it because our society was accustomed to waiting back then. We were more patient because of it. Today we blow a gasket if we don't hear something in 3 minutes.
This "spirit" of the instantaneous has made its way in to the culture of the Western church. In addition to emulating the ways of the world in this, we seem to lose patience with God when we don't quickly get what we ask Him for. Many give up. After all, the Bible says if we give, we shall get, right? But the asking and receiving must be done in God's way. So this brings me to the heart of this post.
There is a species of "giving and receiving" we Christ-followers tend to overlook. This particular species of giving and receiving is the most significant. It doesn't deal only with the here and now, but also the hereafter. As a matter of fact, the most significant "receiving" is done after we leave this life.
Jesus said, "Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven." (Luke 6: 22 - 23) This is without a doubt, the most difficult form of giving. He goes on to say we must love our enemies, do good to those who hate us, bless those who curse us, and pray for those who mistreat us. (Verses 27 and 28)
These are the forms of giving that will bring the greatest rewards. But the thing is...they come later. In the face of hatred and being ostracized; in the face of insult and scorn; in the face of those who hate us because we serve Jesus, we are to love, do good, bless, and pray for those who have made themselves our enemies. When do we get rewarded for this? In heaven, not now. What is our reward for this? I'm not sure. But there is one thing I am sure off. The rewards we receive in heaven far out weigh any reward we can receive here on earth. Jesus said on the day we're hated, ostracized, insulted, and scorned for His sake we are to celebrate. Celebrate? Why celebrate for all that negative stuff? We don't celebrate for the negative stuff, we celebrate because of our great reward we will receive in heaven!
How often do you leap for joy when you are glad about something? Jesus said on the day we're persecuted we are not only to be glad, but we're to leap for joy! This type of reward will be so great we can leap for joy in the face of present persecution! It's just that incredible! And there will be a whole lot more leaping and dancing when we actually receive our reward in eternity!
Truthfully, for you and me to endure what is ahead, we must understand eternity. We must be able to think past the here and now. We must understand that most of what we do in this life affects our eternity. Jesus said, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will be your heart also." (Matthew 6: 19 - 21)
So how can one establish the mindset that reaches past the present into the eternal realm? It's quite simple. We fall deeper and deeper in love with the One who rules eternity. We determine that we are lost without Him. We determine that we are desperate for Him. We must seek Him until we find Him. The closer we come to Him, the more we perceive the reality of eternity. This perception enables us to endure whatever we encounter while we are on earth. We can even leap for joy in the face of it because our reward in heaven is so incredibly fantastic!
By Simms Mulozi & Pukuta Mwanza