Monday, February 25, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, February 25, 2019

The Achievement Award Goes To…

On February 24, 2019, the 91stAcademy Awards ceremony awarded the best films of 2018 with Oscars.  These artists have devoted to their lives to developing their craft and last night the nation honored and praised them.  Like these entertainers, many of us have fought for, strived for, and cried for people to think well of us. If others thought we were worthy, we thought the same, but if others thought we were not worthy of honor, prizes, or fame, our whole world would crash.

In the Bible, the religious leaders in the time of Jesus also sought recognition. But Jesus said they did everything solely so that men could see them (Matthew 23:5-7).  They loved men’s praise more than God’s praise. They knew that Jesus was the Son of God, but crucified Him anyway because they were afraid of being thrown out of the synagogue (John 12:42, 43). While earthly honors are important and they can motivate us to do outstanding work, they must not supersede the importance of heavenly rewards. The Bible says that we are to focus more on our heavenly trajectory than our earthly pursuits (Colossians 3:2-4)

According to Scripture, there are five divine crowns after the Last Judgment waiting for those who please God.  These are the Crown of Life, the Incorruptible Crown, the Crown of Righteousness, the Crown of Glory, and the Crown of Exultation.  Paul triumphantly stated that he knew that after his imminent death, the Crown of Righteousness was waiting for him (2 Timothy 4:8).

Earthly treasures will fade, man-made crowns will be forgotten, but we must build our hopes, our dreams, and our focus on God’s eternal treasures.  We must hold onto God’s unchanging hand and He will reward us greatly and eternally (Galatians 6:9).

Matthew 23:5-7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries (tefillin) wide [to make them more conspicuous] and make their tassels long.
They love the place of distinction and honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues [those on the platform near the scrolls of the Law, facing the congregation],
and to be greeted [with respect] in the market places and public forums...

John 12:42, 43
New International Version (NIV)
42 Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him. But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; 
43 for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Colossians 3:2-4
New International Version (NIV)
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 
For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 
When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

2 Timothy 4:8
New International Version (NIV)
Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

Galatians 6:9
New International Version (NIV)
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

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