Preparing For Worship: God's Reward

Preparing For Worship: God's Reward

John Haralson   •   January 13, 2017

Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.
God, to Abram, in Genesis 15 

Dear Friends, 

Do you think that God is planning on rewarding you? 

I have a hard time believing he is. 

I can make a theological argument against God giving me any kind of reward. After all, I am sinful and broken, and don’t deserve anything from him. And, so I reason, that would rule out getting any kind of reward from God. 

I can also be guilty of what Thoreau called a “quiet desperation”. Here is what he so shrewdly observed nearly 200 years ago:

The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation. From the desperate city you go into the desperate country, and have to console yourself with the bravery of minks and muskrats. A stereotyped but unconscious despair is concealed even under what are called the games and amusements of mankind.

In our so-called sophisticated view of the world, we can effectively dissociate from our lives and stop expecting anything from God or our lives. And, according to Thoreau, we may even do so with smiles on our faces. 

Jarringly, God tells a much different story in the Bible; it is filled with the language of reward. From the very beginning, God unashamedly promises to reward those who seek him. And, his people unashamedly believe that he will, in fact, come through on his promise to reward them. In fact, when he was approaching death, the Apostle Paul said he was looking forward to the crown God was going to give him. In other words, he was anticipating being given a reward by God. 

Do you have any concept of living like this? Do I? 

This whole framework of “expectant waiting on God” is, I think, one of the most challenging aspects of a life with God for us. Do you believe that God is going to actually show up in your life and bring blessing? Do you dare open yourself up to hope? 

I hope to worship with you on Sunday. 

This week: God’s Reward, Luke 2:21-40 

Liturgy is here

Warmly in Christ, 
John 

PS If you weren’t there this past Sunday to hear Pastor Anderson from First AME Seattle preach, you missed out. Here is his sermon and the Q & A he led during Christian Formation Hour