Like so many, I am an avid tennis fan. I can’t play worth beans. When I’ve tried playing, I have no control of the ball to the point that when I hit it, it goes way past the opponent and on and on and on. Consequently, no one wants to play with me as they get tired of chasing the ball. I get tired of hitting it to nowhere, too. Even so, my own lack of ability has not ruined my love of the game. It’s Wimbledon finals this week and I have had my eyes glued to the matches as each player tries their best to be one of the last two standing, playing for the final prize.
Throughout these past two weeks, as the matches have been played, the journalists would report various stories about the players. One thing that is obvious, with no exceptions for any player, is their preparation for this event. They pay attention to their diet, their sleep, their physical training, and their practice. Without preparation today, there would be no hope of the final prize tomorrow.
It came to me that this is the same principal in our spiritual worlds. Our Heavenly Father has made a plan for each of us to follow. He has given us guidelines for our daily preparation in His love letter to us — His Holy Word. Once we choose to receive Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us to give us every tool we need to grow stronger each day. We are given spiritual insight and understanding to “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Jesus Christ, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14). This does not mean that we work for our eternal destiny. Salvation is a gift, that when received, will never be taken away. That’s the promise. However, we will receive rewards for all we do in Jesus’ name.
Are rewards that important? Isn’t the main thing just being in heaven for eternity? Well, that depends on one’s eternal perspective. You see, the Bible teaches us that a time will come when we will all see Jesus face to face. At that time, our understanding will be complete. In other words, we will fully understand just what Jesus has done for us and gone through in order to give us the gift of eternal life with Him. When we have that realisation, we will take those rewards given to us, and we will cast them at His feet in our love and gratitude.
I once saw an athlete who won her race and received the medal. Joyfully, this athlete then stepped into the crowd and placed the medal in the hands of her parents. She said it was her parents who encouraged and supported her in all her training. It will be the same with us. Imagine that you won your gift of eternal life with Jesus, but did nothing on earth to show your love for Him; nothing to earn any rewards. You have nothing to give back. Imagine.