The Struggle With Serving God For Eternal Rewards

In all honesty, do you struggle with the thought that doing good works for Christ in order to receive a reward is disingenuous? Do you think it is selfish to want to receive those things? Shouldn’t you want to do the right thing purely out of a love and desire to please God? These are some questions many Christians have wrestled with. The idea of not being motivated by the rewards God has promised seems noble on the surface, but is it biblical?

The Desire Of Eternal Rewards: Selfish Ambition Or Holy Pursuit

In Matthew 16:24-27 we read, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.  For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?  For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.”

In this scripture we see Jesus teaching his disciples the sacrifices needed to be made in this world in order to follow Him. JESUS INTRODUCES THE IDEA of a promise to repay each person for what they have done. DUE TO THE FACT THAT THIS PROMISE OF REWARDS IS COMING FROM JESUS, we’re influenced to believe it is okay to be motivated by rewards. If it was wrong, then why would Jesus introduce rewards as part of the stipulations?

ANALOGY: If I make a deal with my son that says “If you do a full day of yard work Saturday, I’ll pay you $75. Would it be wrong for him to want and expect the $75 upon completion of the work? Of course it wouldn’t be wrong! I made the offer, and I want him to want and expect what was agreed upon.

No doubt, it would be inappropriate if my son refused to work unless I offered him rewards. However, because rewarding him was my idea, not his, he would have every right to be motivated by the rewards I offered him.

Here is the good thing. It wasn’t our idea that God would reward us. It was God’s idea! God designed us to need incentives to motivate us to do our jobs and do them well.

In Hebrews, we find Moses’ life on display.

Hebrews 11:26 – says that “He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was LOOKING (expecting;anticipating) to the reward.”

Nothing expresses the faith of a person greater than their actions, and Moses gave up great wealth in his life for the promise of greater things in the future. He fully understood the value of eternal rewards.

Rewards are talked about all throughout scripture, and we continuously see them being used as motivation for our actions. Here are just a couple of examples:

Luke 6:35 – “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High…”

Luke 14:13-14 – “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Matthew 6:19-20 – “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.”


1.) The rewards will show the justice of God (Hebrews 6:10).

2.) The rewards will fulfill the law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7-9).

3.) The rewards will make good on Gods promise that our labor in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The final chapter of the Bible paints a picture of eternity that is too great to even comprehend until we get there.

Revelation 22:3-5 tells us “No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him.  They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.”

If we really believe in the promises of scripture, which point to eternity, our lives should reflect our faith just as Moses’ life did when he gave up the treasures of Egypt because he knew even that vast wealth paled in comparison to the rich reward that awaited him for all eternity. A pure and sincere value in eternity wouldn’t trade the rich rewards of heaven for the fleeting shadows of pleasure we can get in this life.

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