For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Yes, you are our glory and joy!
1 Thessalonians 2:19-20
Paul was the original “Little League Dad”. Any time the thought of Jesus’ second coming, and the throne of rewards crossed his mind, he could just picture all the wonderful brothers and sisters of Thessalonica standing before the throne; he could envision them being crowned by King Jesus. And Paul would break into his pastor’s song: What’s my idea of glory, a crown? Hey, beloved, it’s YOU! YOU’RE my crown!
Talk about a cheerleader!
Paul understood that souls won to faith in Jesus, and service to others in the name of Jesus will be the centerpiece of the judgment seat. Now, to make the distinction, remember that there are two judgment seats:
One – the Great White Throne is like the Great White Shark – you don’t want to be there. That is the place where God will reject those who have rejected His son, Jesus.
Two – is the Bema seat, the judgment seat of rewards, where Jesus will hand out crowns of victory for all those who are faithful to Him. Souls won; faith in Christ, service to Christ – these are the measuring sticks of worth in the Kingdom of God.
As a Pastor I am charged with the responsibility of helping to equip those I serve to better-navigate and serve in the Kingdom. My priority, like Paul, is to see you stand at the Bema seat, crown in hand.
That is graduation day. And the rewards are based not on how good you look, how much of a fortune you amassed on earth, or if you knew all the right doctrines and could quote the Westminster Confession or John Wesley’s sermons by heart.
It’s a faith and service thing.
Faith is an internal thing – it has to do with your trust level with Jesus.
Service is an external thing – it is driven by your internal faith, but finds its way into the everyday of life, touching others.
And so, my priorities are to teach and preach the Word of God so your faith develops around internal allegiance to the King – as well as to organize to serve others. I teach and preach that we are to serve, not be served. Faith and works; trust and serve!
My crown as Pastor would be to see any faithfulness I exhibit in preaching and leading grow in you – so much so that on judgment day there are crowns all over your heads for loving Jesus, and loving others in His name by serving them and bringing them to faith and service.
Yeah…pastors are a little like cheerleaders. When one of the flock scores a big faith thing, or serves a winning blessing into someone else’s life, or takes some other step forward toward the Master…well, we just can’t help it……GLORY, GLORY, and GLORY!
We know there are plenty of crosses to pick up and follow; but there IS a crown waiting.
Keep stepping, church member, choir singer, outreach leader, faithful mother, dad, uncle and aunt. Keep moving all you children of God. Some day we will all stand before Him, and it will be time for the exchange.
Now, I can’t sing it (especially like he could), but just imagine Bev Shea’s voice:
To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true, it’s shame and reproach gladly bear;
Then he’ll call me some day, to my home, far away, where His glory forever I’ll share.
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down.
I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.