Finishing with Joy
Finishing with Joy
The church was crowded. It was harvest time. Everyone was bringing the tithes and offerings from their crops to the church. There was rejoicing as the people sang praises to God.
Kim thanked God for the many blessings he had received. God has done so much for me! he thought. Only a few years before he had not even been saved. Now his whole family was a part of the body of believers. And God was using him in the work of the church, too, as he yielded himself to the Holy Spirit. He had prayed for the sick and had taught God’s Word. He had learned how to work with the leaders God had given him in his church.
As Kim listened to the singing he thought of another harvest-time—that time when his work would be done and he would meet Jesus face to face. What will that day be like? he wondered.
Perhaps you also have asked yourself what the future will be for the Christian worker. This lesson will help answer that question. Let the truths it presents inspire you in your work for the Lord and fill your heart with joy.
The Work Finished
The Race Run
The New Testament compares the life of a Christian worker to a race that is run by an athlete. The apostle Paul said, “So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize, which is God’s call through Christ Jesus to the life above” (Philippians 3:14). In the Christian race, every faithful runner can be a winner! “‘Listen!’ says Jesus, ‘I am coming soon! I will bring my rewards with me, to give to each one according to what he has done’” (Revelation 22:12). What joy awaits the Christian worker!
But in order to finish your race you must overcome the tests and temptations that may come. You may be tempted to feel sorry for yourself. Disappointments may come. Your plans may not always succeed like you want them to. But through the power of the Holy Spirit you can face each of these situations and be victorious. One day the race will be run. Some may quit, some leaders may fail, but “whoever holds out to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24:13). Live and work so that you can say with the apostle Paul, “I have done my best in the race, I have run the full distance, and I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).
The Task Completed
The New Testament also compares the ministry of a Christian worker to a task or a job that needs to be completed. Jesus realized that He had an important work to do and that He must finish it. He knew it would not always be possible to work. He said, “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me; night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4). Jesus knew when His work was done. He said to His Father, “I have finished the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
Jesus described our task in Matthew 28:19-20. We need to realize that at one point in time, our opportunities to be workers for the Lord will be gone. But each Christian worker can have the satisfaction of knowing that the task God has given him or her to do can be completed. You are doing that task now. Be faithful!
The Harvest Gathered
The New Testament says that the work of a Christian is like that of gathering in a harvest (Matthew 9:37-38). Harvest speaks of seed sown, of a crop ripened, of the fruit gathered. Harvest time is always a season of great joy. There will be joy in heaven, too, at that final harvest-time. The joy of that harvest will come when the Christian workers see the multitudes who have eternal life, because the members of the body of Christ worked together to show them the love of Christ. As a worker for God, you will share in that joy. You will see the fruit of your labors those who have believed in Jesus, the sick who were healed, the ones who were encouraged. What a wonderful time it will be!
The Joy Experienced
There is a payday for the hired worker. There is a time to give prizes to the winner in a contest. In the same way, those who work for the Lord will receive their rewards.
God has given us the privilege of working for Him. He has set a time in His future plan to bring all Christian workers together. Each person will be rewarded according to his or her work (1 Corinthians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
There will be different kinds of rewards. First of all, those who are faithful will be welcomed by the Lord Himself. He will say, “Well done, you good and faithful servant!” (Matthew 25:21). This approval from the Master will be precious beyond anything we can imagine.
Then, too, we will receive all that God has promised to us our inheritance. In Romans 8:17 we read that “we will also possess with Christ what God has kept for him; for if we share Christ’s suffering, we will also share his glory.”
Another reward will be the joy of seeing the people we have helped spiritually. The apostle Paul looked forward to this joy. “After all,” he wrote to the Thessalonians, “it is you—you, no less than others!—who are our hope, our joy, and our reason for boasting of our victory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes” (1 Thessalonians 2:19).
The Bible also speaks of workers receiving crowns. During the times the New Testament was written, the crown that a winning athlete received was just a wreath of flowers or vines. It did not last long, but it was still very precious; he had worked long and hard to gain it. In 1 Corinthians 9:25 we read that our crown, unlike one of flowers or vines, will last forever. It will be a glorious crown (1 Peter 5:4).
But the best reward of all will be to experience the full joy of being in the Lord’s presence forever (1 Thessalonians 4:17). This joy will never end!
Suppose you wanted to tell a friend about the rewards a Christian worker will receive. In your notebook, write down five of those rewards and a Bible reference for each one.
Be a faithful Christian worker. Remember these words that Paul wrote to the workers in the first church; they are as true today as they were then: “So then, my dear brothers, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
You have now finished studying Christian Workers. May the Lord bless you as you find your place of service in the church and use the gifts God gives you to bless and strengthen the body. As you continue to work more with other believers, you may want to read some of the lessons again to remind yourself of the ministry gifts God has given or the duties of leaders. Never forget that the body of believers is Christ’s church. He is the one who will build a strong body and help you as a Christian worker.