On Sunday (August 2) I ended my sermon by listing the 5 named crowns in the New Testament. On Monday or Tuesday I got the question below via FB messenger. My answer is brief and leaves a lot to be desired – whole books have been written on this topic – but like the questioner; this may be an area you are interested in or would like to “study out” and this little “Q&A” might get you started:
Hi Pastor Scott, I just wanted to thank you for talking about the 5 crowns at the end of your sermon Sunday. I wanted to ask a question on the text line, but couldn’t stop watching FB on my phone to text the question or the sermon would stop talking. And I couldn’t firm just one question so quickly either since it was at the end of the sermon. So I didn’t text it. But I was just studying those 5 crowns in my mini study on Heaven, when I borrowed your books about heaven 2 weeks ago. My question is about the crowns (or reward), what is the reward? Is it being recognized publicly in heaven in front of others who didn’t get that award? Would that not create sadness or regret in others? What bible verses would shed more light on this if any? Or a reward is different then a public award. It might be some kind of leadership honor or a privileged job to do for God? Or to have a crown to place at the king of king’s feet. This is such an odd concept to me. If Christ is the king of Kings why would we get a crown? I realize I’m treading into speculation area probably, but I just wonder what do we know about it. Should these crowns motivate us into righteousness and perseverance? Like doing good works to receive a crown? Is that prideful to be on a quest to win that reward? Or is it a reward we shouldn’t Pursue? I have heard so little about this before. Should we take this more seriously and even let it guide us and how we live and do ministry? I guess the question is how do we apply these passages to our life now? Sorry to think out loud and be so analytical, I hope you have time to play 20 questions. Lol. If you could point me in the right direction to study it out I would appreciate it.
I also wondered if any of the rewards mentioned in parables would line up with these passages. Just Wondering.
Let me handle your overarching question first. “Shouldn’t love of God and gratitude for His grace gift to us be enough to motivate us?” Yes, of course! There is nothing we shouldn’t be willing to do for God! But God is like a parent, He not only blessed us with Eternal Life but He wants to reward us for a life well lived.
The challenge is that the teaching about kingdom rewards are sprinkled all over scripture. They are referred to as “Blessings” (Matthew 5:3-12); as money (Matthew 25:14-46); as “place” (Matthew 18:1-4) as responsibility (Matthew 13:12) and of course crowns to throw at His feet! (Revelation 4:10).
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul reminds us that he is running hard after his crown. In 1 Corinthians 6 he reminds believers that they are one day going to judge Angels. In chapter 3 he talks about how their works are going to be judged. We don’t know if any of these will be public, but I don’t think keeping our self-esteem up is God’s primary concern. That’s a humanist thing that has come along since Dr. Spock (not Star Trek; the Child Psychologist).
It’s not clear if they are all the same thing using different terms or if there is a huge variety of rewards awaiting us in the Kingdom.
It’s clear that some believer’s will suffer loss upon admission. (1 Cor 3:15)
It’s not wrong to have multiple motivations. You can Love your job (Teacher, nurse, pastor) and still take home a paycheck. A worker is worthy of his wages.