Stewardship 16 – rewards

The aim of this devotional study is to reflect on the stewardship and God’s eternal rewards for faithfulness.

Scripture

1 Corinthians 3:5-15

5  Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? 6  I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. 7  So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. 8  Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.

9  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11  For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

12  Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,

13  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.  14  If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  15  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

Observations

  1. Summarize Pauls’ arguments in your own words in each of the following sections:
    1. Verses 5-8
    2. Verses 9-11
    3. Verses 12-15
  2. Paul speaks of Spiritual ministry in wo metaphors in this section:
    1. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 5-9a (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
    2. Describe the metaphor he uses in verses 9b-15 (the believer’s spiritual life and the spiritual worker’s “vocation” – what is good in this metaphor, why is it lacking?)
  3. In both these metaphors Paul refers to “the reward” for good work (verse 8 and verses 13-15).
    1. What does “the Day” refer to? (verse 13)
    2. What “test of fire” do you understand Paul speaks about in context here [hint: he is talking about “builders”…]?
    3. What do you make of verse 15, also referring to “builders”: If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

Application and Prayer

In this section Paul refers to apostles specifically, and spiritual minsters in general who use their gifts to build into believers (churches and individuals); he promises that their ministry will be revealed for truthfulness when Jesus returns and they will receive a reward; they will not be saved by the truthfulness of their ministry, but rewarded for its sincerity.  This is certainly true for every calling: you will receive a reward, as Paul writes elsewhere:

Colossians 3:22-25

22  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. 23  And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. 25  But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality.

  1. Stewardship promises rewards – good or bad, according to your faithfulness.
    1. Stop and reflect for a while on your work. Are you a good worker (or mother, or student, or… – depending on your main daily activity)?  Are you faithful with what the Lord has entrusted to you?  Write your thoughts down.
    2. Ask the Lord how you are doing with what he has entrusted to you. Ask Him about the rewards he has for you.  Write it down.
    3. What can you do to remind yourself daily that your faithfulness at work [your main daily activity] will have eternal consequences – that it will be rewarded eternally?

[This concludes the series on Stewardship]

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