When all is said and done and we are left with nothing except what we have accomplished in this life; will be as the Apostle Paul and say “I have fought the good fight, I have kept the faith” or will be as Judas and rue the very moment of our birth? When the day comes when we stand before our Lord Jesus Christ to receive our wages for what we have done in this life; will we look forward to receiving the praise for what we did in this life or…?
What awaits us at the end of our life is determined by what we think, say and do in this life. If we live for this life only we may reap the temporal rewards this life has to offer, but at what price? Is it worth jeopardizing our eternal rewards to enjoy the world’s rewards for a season? If we allow the world and the empty promises it makes to tear our heart away from God, we may think we did well now but we will find out later that we were played as a fool.
The New Testament lays out five crowns available to enjoy for eternity based on how we think, what we say and what we do in this life. These five crowns provide the ultimate motivation to do things God’s way now even if it is at the expense of temporary corruptible rewards. The five crowns mentioned are:
1. The crown incorruptible found in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 is for those who keep running in the Christian race and are not rejected from the competition. This crown is given to those who are willing to exercise self control and self discipline in this life.
2. The crown of rejoicing found in 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20 is awarded to those who lead others to Christ.
3. The crown of righteousness found in 2 Timothy 4:8 is given for those who remain faithful in this life, never compromising one’s integrity, fulfilling one’s ministry and most of all—who love the appearing of Jesus Christ. Only those whose eyes are fixed on the coming of Jesus will remain faithful in this life.
4. The crown of life found in James 1:12 and is given to those who resist temptation in this life. It is abundantly clear in various places in the New Testament that God’s people will face a multitude of temptations in this life. This crown is the reward for resisting these temptations even if it means suffering, poverty and loneliness.
5. The crown of glory found in 1 Peter 5:4 is for Christian overseers who faithfully watch over and feed the flock of God.
Doing the Christian walk may be difficult, result in earthly rejection and even persecution and suffering. What makes it worthwhile? Knowing that as we remain faithful to the Lord in this life, we have crowns and other rewards awaiting us for all eternity gives us both comfort and motivation to do things Christ’s way and not the world’s way every day of our lives.