On another page we examined biblical indications of varying punishments. For an example of varying rewards, consider Jesus’ parable in which servants were each given an equal amount of money known as a mina. Because of their varying faithfulness, one servant ended up with eleven minas and control of ten cities, another had five minas and control of five cities, another had nothing but his life, and the enemies of the returning king lost even their lives (Luke 19:12-27). (The figures assume on the basis of verses 24 and 25 that the king took back his original mina from each of the servants and let them keep their profit.)
Matthew 6:19-20 Don’t lay up treasures for yourselves on the earth . . . but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven . . .
Without specifically saying so, the following gives the impression that one can “store up” varying amounts of heavenly treasure. And consider this:
Matthew 10:41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man’s reward.
Does this imply a prophet will receive a different reward to an average “righteous man”?
(42) Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward.
A reward for a mere cupful of unheated water suggests that every tiny act will have its individual reward. Would we act differently if we realized that by our actions we are daily, even hourly, storing up or missing out on riches in heaven to be enjoyed for all eternity?
When Jesus spoke of the final judgment in which the “sheep” would be separated from the “goats,” all of the people – both those who were rewarded and those condemned – were staggered to discover that their actions were more significant in their Judge’s eyes than they had been in their own estimation (Matthew 25:37,44).
This suggests every relatively minor action will receive its reward.
I’m not suggesting we should become overly reward-conscious but rather that we realize that even what we are tempted to dismiss as insignificant acts are not swallowed up by the vastness of life but have eternal ramifications.
Other Scriptures hinting at varying rewards:
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.
Romans 2:6 who “will pay back to everyone according to their works:”
1 Corinthians 3:8 Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
Hebrews 6:10 For God is not unrighteous, so as to forget your work and the labor of love which you showed toward his name, in that you served the saints, and still do serve them.
2 John 1:8 Watch yourselves, that we don’t lose the things which we have accomplished, but that we receive a full reward.
Revelation 2:23 I will kill her children with Death, and all the assemblies will know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts. I will give to each one of you according to your deeds.
Revelation 22:12 Behold, I come quickly. My reward is with me, to repay to each man according to his work.
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