The Bible’s Viewpoint
Does God Give Rewards?
YES, he does. Is it selfish, therefore, to serve God with a reward in view? No, for he himself sets rewards before his faithful servants. In fact, as a God of justice and love, Jehovah obligates himself to reward those who serve him. His Word, at Hebrews 11:6, says in part: “The man who approaches God must have faith in two things, first that God exists and secondly that God rewards those who search for him.”—Phillips.
Demonstrating genuine faith in God gains his friendship, and this friendship leads to a reward. God blesses those who earnestly seek his favor.
Rewards Are Acts of Love
Jehovah wants us to know that he is the kind of God who rewards those who love him. For example, considerate parents look for ways to reward their child who willingly does chores around the house out of love for the parents. The parents may provide more than just the necessities of life, rewarding the child with a special gift. At times the gift may even be money to put in the bank to provide future security for the child. Thus, God is not like people who have no appreciation or consideration for those who do things out of love or loyalty. Jehovah is warmhearted and draws close to his friends. If you hold fast to faith in him, he “will by no means leave you nor by any means forsake you.”—Hebrews 13:5.
God appreciates and favors all of those who do even the slightest service to him, giving them further opportunities to know him. Jesus’ words at Matthew 10:40-42 illustrate the point: “He that receives you receives me also, and he that receives me receives him also that sent me forth. He that receives a prophet because he is a prophet will get a prophet’s reward, and he that receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will get a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water to drink because he is a disciple, I tell you truly, he will by no means lose his reward.”
Jesus was sent by his Father, Jehovah. Hence, a person who favorably receives Christ’s disciples—whether they be prophets, righteous men, or little ones—is receiving Christ as well as God, who sent Christ. Surely that person will be blessed; he will not go unrewarded. His treasure chest of spiritual possessions will become fuller. Why? Because Jehovah remembers even the smallest act of service rendered in support of his Kingdom, and that act will not go unrewarded.—Hebrews 6:10.
Interestingly, Peter, a disciple of Jesus, asked Jesus straight out if there would be a reward for him and for his fellow apostles: “Look! We have left all things and followed you; what actually will there be for us?” (Matthew 19:27) Jesus did not consider the question inappropriate but gave a positive answer, saying: “Everyone that has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive many times more and will inherit everlasting life.”—Matthew 19:29.
Rewards Present and Future
The reply Jesus gave shows that his followers are rewarded both now and in the future. One present reward is their becoming part of an expanding international family of spiritual brothers and sisters. While the churches of Christendom are groaning about shrinking membership and lack of support, the meeting halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses are figuratively bulging. Hundreds of thousands of new Witnesses are baptized each year.
Still another reward is peace of mind with the contentment and happiness that friendship with God and knowledge of him bring. Yes, “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6) It reflects a happy state of mind indeed when one is able to say, as did the apostle Paul: “I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be self-sufficient,” that is, content.—Philippians 4:11.
Shortly before his death, Paul wrote of a future reward for the “little flock” of Jesus’ anointed followers—the reward of a resurrection to heavenly life: “From this time on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me as a reward in that day, yet not only to me, but also to all those who have loved his manifestation.”—Luke 12:32; 2 Timothy 4:7, 8.
The millions of Jesus’ followers who are his “other sheep” look to the future reward of everlasting life on an earth transformed into a paradise. (John 10:16) And Jesus assured that his followers who die will “be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones.”—Luke 14:14.
Visualize the Reward
It is appropriate to try to visualize such blessings, although nobody knows exactly what they will be like. Are you not able to feel the happiness described at Isaiah 25:8: “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces”? Try to envision the words of Isaiah 32:17: “The work of the true righteousness must become peace; and the service of the true righteousness, quietness and security to time indefinite.” Yes, all humans will be working together in true friendship. (Isaiah 65:21-25) Even today, diligent work results in fine homes and products of excellent quality. Then, in God’s new world, healthy people under perfect conditions will be able to produce whatever is needed to make life enjoyable.—Psalm 37:4.
The rewards God gives are not due to any meritorious service on our part but spring from his love as a gift despite our inherited sinful state. (Romans 5:8-10) Nevertheless, there is a connection between the anticipated reward and our conduct. We must earnestly seek Jehovah with bold faith and endurance. (Hebrews 10:35-39) In other words, “whatever you are doing, work at it whole-souled as to Jehovah, and not to men, for you know that it is from Jehovah you will receive the due reward of the inheritance.” Yes, he does give rewards.—Colossians 3:23, 24.