Look to God for a Reward
TO DO what is right, to serve God with the hope of a reward is not at all selfish. It does not deprive either God or any fellow human creature of that which is due a person. In fact, Jehovah God, as a God of justice and love, obligates himself to reward those who serve him.—Heb. 6:10.
It takes faith for one to serve Jehovah God with the hope of a reward from him. That is why so few people today even profess to serve God. Such faith is in itself a virtue. Far from being selfish, it is only a matter of being grateful, of being appreciative of the blessings that God offers on the condition of obedience and right-doing.—Luke 18:8; 2 Thess. 3:2.
That is why God’s Word gives much encouragement to do what is right with the hope of a reward from Jehovah. Typical of this is what it tells about a certain young Moabite widow, Ruth. Because of her taking her stand with Jehovah God, the God of her mother-in-law Naomi, and for taking good care of Naomi, she was told by a kinsman of her mother-in-law: “May Jehovah reward the way you act, and may there come to be a perfect wage for you from Jehovah the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to seek refuge.”—Ruth 2:12.
That this prayer (which it was in effect) was fitting in the case of Ruth can be seen from the affection and determination she expressed toward her mother-in-law: “Do not plead with me to abandon you, to turn back from accompanying you; for where you go I shall go, and where you spend the night I shall spend the night. Your people will be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I shall die, and there is where I shall be buried. May Jehovah do so to me and add to it if anything but death should make a separation between me and you.” And Ruth was richly rewarded for her noble course of action. She became the happy wife of God-fearing and prosperous Boaz and also the ancestress of King David and of Jesus Christ. She even had one of the books of the Bible named after her!—Ruth 1:16, 17.
‘Your reward is from Jehovah.’ What a happy thought, what a faith-strengthening thought! And who can hope to receive such a reward? Not the workers of iniquity. God rewards only those who recognize him as their God and endeavor to please him. Ruth was of that frame of mind as her words to Naomi clearly showed. How can it be selfish when God’s Word tells us that to please Jehovah God we must believe not only that he exists, but also that he ‘rewards those earnestly seeking him.’—Heb. 11:6.
Parents and children, husbands and wives, employees and employers, overseers, ministerial servants and individual members in the Christian congregation all have certain obligations to discharge. At times some of these may feel that they are not being appreciated, that they are being exploited or taken advantage of. Then again, it may seem that their tasks are boring, monotonous, frustrating, offering little or no hope of betterment. While those without faith in God often feel so frustrated and resentful that they create riots and engage in other acts of violence, Christians have no reason to do so. Rather, if unable to change their circumstances, if unable to improve their lot in an honorable way, by appeals to reason and in a peaceful manner, they still can take comfort nevertheless. Take comfort in what? In the thought that by doing that which is right they are pleasing to Jehovah God and will be rewarded by him both now and in the future.
Rewarded even now? How so? you ask. One of the ways in which God now rewards right doing is by his angels. Time and again those serving Jehovah God have been recipients of blessings that can only be accounted for as being in answer to their prayers, as coming directly from Jehovah God through his angels. Then again, Jehovah God’s holy spirit is the instrument used by him to reward his faithful servants. And often God puts it into the mind and heart of some of his faithful earthly servants to show kindness to fellow servants, thus rewarding them, as it were. Ruth’s reward from Jehovah came through a human agency, the kinsman of her mother-in-law Naomi, namely, Boaz.—Ruth 4:9-17.
That Jehovah’s servants can indeed expect such blessings from their God is clear from the promise found at Proverbs 10:22: “The blessing of Jehovah—that is what makes rich, and he adds no pain with it.” Besides, did not Jesus say that if his followers would seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness all other necessary things would be added to them? He truly did!—Matt. 6:33.
Still another reward that Jehovah God might be said to give at the present time to those of his servants who truly seek to please him is peace of mind with contentment and happiness, surely no mean ‘wage.’ Yes, “godly devotion along with self-sufficiency” is great gain. (1 Tim. 6:6) It is indeed a happy state of mind to be able to say as did the apostle Paul: “I have learned, in whatever circumstances I am, to be self-sufficient,” that is, content. Thus we read regarding the patriarch Abraham, who served Jehovah God to an age of 175 years, that he died “old and satisfied.”—Phil. 4:11; Gen. 25:8.
Today it is also true that Jehovah God rewards his faithful servants. Indeed, there are faithful Christian witnesses of Jehovah by the hundreds of thousands that can testify to this. Proof of this is seen in their life stories as they have appeared in the Watchtower magazine. And proof of this can also be seen at their large conventions, where their happy state is so noticeable by reason of their great numbers.
And then, of course, there is also the hope of a future reward, which reward is repeatedly held out in the Scriptures. Jesus assured his followers that they would “be repaid in the resurrection of the righteous ones.” And the apostle Paul assured Christians of this in the conclusion to his powerful exposition of the resurrection, saying: “Consequently, my beloved brothers, become steadfast, unmovable, always having plenty to do in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in connection with the Lord.” Similarly he told Christian slaves of his day: “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.”—Luke 14:14; 1 Cor. 15:58; Col. 3:23, 24.
No question about it, Jehovah God does reward those who abide by his principles and who do what is pleasing in his sight. They have present rewards and can hope for future rewards in his due time. Such is not selfish but is merely taking Jehovah God at his word, even as Joshua reminded the Israelites: “Not one word out of all the good words that Jehovah your God has spoken to you has failed. They have all come true for you. Not one word of them has failed.” (Josh. 23:14) So look with faith to Jehovah God for your reward!