We are afraid that heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no
longer be disinterested. It is not so. Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can
desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only the pure in
heart want to.
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.
One morning I opened the door to get the newspaper and was surprised to see a strange
little dog with our paper in his mouth. Delighted with this unexpected "delivery
service," I fed him some treats. The following morning I was horrified to see the
same dog sitting in front of our door, wagging his tail, surrounded by eight newspapers.
I spent the rest of that morning returning the papers to their owners.
Marion Gilbert, Reader's Digest, February, 1994,
In his book The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis notes how believers often underestimate the
full riches God has for His children.
"...If we consider...the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels,
it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are
half-hearted creatures...like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a
slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are
far too easily pleased."
Swindoll, Improving Your Serve, In Touch, June 29,
We are afraid that Heaven is a bribe, and that if we make it our goal we shall no longer be disinterested. It is not so.
Heaven offers nothing that a mercenary soul can desire. It is safe to tell the pure in heart that they shall see God, for only
he pure in heart want to.
C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain.
On December 16, 1944, 18 members of a reconnaisance platoon held off a battalion of crack German storm troopers in the Belgian
hamlet of Lanzerath. Few history books note that their gallant stand gave Allied forces time to begin mounting the defense that
eventually won the famous Battle of the Bulge. One of the platoon members was Will James, who after the war slipped into
oblivion for nearly 4 decades. During that time he underwent numerous painful surgeries as a result of his war wounds. Not
until 1981, through the efforts of U.S. House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill and columnist Jack Anderson, was he awarded,
posthumously, the Distinguished Service Cross for extraordinary heroism.
Daily Bread, December 16, 1991.
It is a most lamentable thing to see how most people spend their time and their energy for trifles, while God is cast aside. He
who is all seems to them as nothing, and that which is nothing seems to them as good as all. It is lamentable indeed, knowing
that God has set mankind in such a race where heaven or hell is their certain end, that they should sit down and loiter, or run
after the childish toys of the world, forgetting the prize they should run for.
Were it but possible for one of us to see this business as the all-seeing God does, and see what most men and
women in the world are interested in and what they are doing every day, it would be the saddest sight imaginable. Oh, how we
should marvel at their madness and lament their self-delusion! If God had never told them what they were sent into the world to
do, or what was before them in another world, then there would have been some excuse. But it is His sealed word, and they
profess to believe it.
Do not be worn out by the labors which you have undertaken for My sake, and do not let tribulations ever cast you down. Instead,
let My promise strengthen and comfort you under every circumstance. I am well able to reward you above all measure and
degree. You shall not toil here long nor always be oppressed with griefs. A time will come when all labor and trouble will
cease. Labor faithfully in My vineyard; I will be thy recompense. Life everlasting is worth all these conflict, and
greater than these. Are not all plentiful labors to be endured for the sake of life eternal? Lift your face therefore to
heaven; behold I and all My saints with me--who in this world had great conflicts--are now comforted, now rejoicing, now secure,
now at rest, and shall remain with Me everlastingly in the kingdom of My father.
Thomas a Kempis.
A world-class woman runner was invited to compete in a road race in Connecticut. On the morning of the race, she drove from
New York City, following the directions -- or so she thought -- given her over the telephone. She got lost, stopped at a gas
station, and asked for help. She knew that the race started in the parking lot of a shopping mall. The station attendant also
knew of such a race scheduled just up the road and directed her there.
When she arrived she was relieved to see in the parking lot a modest number of runners preparing to compete. Not as many as
she'd anticipated; an easier race than she'd been led to expect. She hurried to the registration desk, announced herself, and was
surprised by the race officials' excitement at having so renowned an athlete show up for their race. No, they had no record of her
entry, but if she'd hurry and put on this number, she could just make it before the gun goes off. She ran and, naturally, she won
easily, some four minutes ahead of the first male runner in second place.
Only after the race--when there was no envelope containing her sizable prize and performance money-- did she confirm that the
event she'd run was not the race to which she'd been invited. That race was being held several miles farther up the road in
another town. She'd gone to the wrong starting line, run the wrong course, and missed her chance to win a valuable prize.
D. Bruce Lockerbie, Thinking and Acting Like A
Christian, p. 52.
At the Sudan Interior Mission Kijabe Medical Center, SIM medical missionaries Bob and Marion Bowers recently
treated a young man with a paralyzing snake bite and saw him live long enough to
accept Christ as his Savior. In many Third World countries, snake bites are common--and fatal. For four days, the young man
remained unconscious. Under normal circumstances he would have died the day of the snake bite. But on the fifth day he
miraculously woke up. That afternoon a group of students from Moffat Bible College came to the hospital to share the gospel
with the patients. After hearing the words of truth, the man accepted Christ as his savior. At midnight, he had cardiac
arrest and died.
Harvest, Summer, 1991, Vol. 1.
After a preacher died and went to heaven, he noticed that a New York cabdriver had been given a higher place than he had. "I
don't understand," he complained to St. Peter. "I devoted my entire life to my congregation."
"Our policy is to reward results," explained St. Peter. "Now what happened, Reverend,
whenever you gave a sermon?"
The minister admitted that some in the congregation fell asleep.
"Exactly, " said St. Peter. "And when people rode in this man's taxi, they not only stayed awake,
Ray Heit, Reader's Digest.
When I stand at the judgment seat of Christ
And He shows me His plan for me;
The plan of my life as it might have been
Had He had His way, and I see
How I blocked Him here and I checked Him there
And I would not yield my will,
Shall I see grief in my Savior's eyes;
Grief though He loves me still?
Oh, He'd have me rich, and I stand there poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While my memory runs like a hunted thing
Down the paths I can't retrace.
Then my desolate heart will well-nigh break
With tears that I cannot shed.
I'll cover my face with my empty hands
And bow my uncrowned head.
No. Lord of the years that are left to me
I yield them to Thy hand.
Take me, make me, mold me
To the pattern Thou hast planned.
One of the most grueling of all bicycle races is the Tour De France. A contestant in that event, Gilbert
Duclos-Lassalle, describes it in a National Geographic article titled, "An Annual
Madness." The race covers about 2000 miles, including some of France's most difficult, mountainous terrain. Eating and
drinking is done on the run. And there are extremes of heat and cold. To train for the event, Lassalle rides his bicycle 22,000
miles a year. What kind of prize makes people endure so much hardship and pain! $10,000? $100,000? No. It's just a special
winner's jersey. What then motivates the contestants? Lassalle sums it up: "Why, to sweep through the Arc de Triomphe on the
last day. To be able to say you finished the Tour de France."
Daily Bread, October 5, 1990.
We must not be troubled by unbelievers when they say that this promise of rewards makes the Christian's life a mercenary affair.
There are different kinds of reward. There is the reward which has no natural connection with things you do to earn it, and is
quite foreign to the desires that ought to accompany those things. Money is not the natural reward of love; that is why we
call a man mercenary if he marries a woman for the sake of her money. But marriage is the proper reward for a real lover, and
he is not mercenary for desiring it.
C.S. Lewis, quoted in Liberating Ministry From The Success
Syndrome, K. Hughes, Tyndale, 1988, p. 158.
Earth for work, heaven for wages
This life for the battle, another for the crown
Time for employment, eternity for enjoyment.
They that deny themselves for Christ shall enjoy themselves in Christ.
One day in heaven will pay you, yea, overpay your blood, bonds, sorrow, and sufferings; it would trouble an angel's understanding
to lay the account of that surplus of glory which eternity can and will give you.
If we consider the greatness and the glory of the life we shall have when we have risen from the dead, it would not be difficult
at all for us to bear the concerns of this world. If I believe the Word, I shall on the Last Day, after the sentence has been
pronounced, not only gladly have suffered ordinary temptations, insults, and imprisonment, but I shall also say: "O, that I did
not throw myself under the feet of all the godless for the sake of the great glory which I now see revealed and which has come
to me through the merit of Christ!"
The Scriptures teach that the happiness or blessedness of believers in a future life will be greater or less in proportion
to the service of Christ in this life. Those who love little, do little; and those who do little, enjoy less.