God has the right to put us wherever He desires in service of Him. God has the right to give earthly resources to one and not another. God has the right to bless one with visible rewards in this life and withhold them from who He desires. Why? God is God and can do whatever He wants.
That does NOT mean that one will be rewarded in glory any more than another. In fact, God may continue distributing His blessing in eternity OR turn it upside down by blessing the lesser on earth with more than the other in heaven. God can do that because He’s God. Consider Matthew 25:14-15
For it (The Kingdom) will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
God gives to each as He wills…
1 Cor 12:4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as He wills.
This means that GOD is the one who places each person in a particular place of ministry and gives them what He wills to build up the Body of Christ for God’s glory. This means that rewards in heaven are based on faithfulness to carry out the call given to each person. In heaven, how we view things on earth don’t matter one whit! In fact, they can muddy our perspective to a degree. As Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:2-5…
It is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.
Is the pastor who serves in a rural church where he may have one convert every few years any less faithful than the one God placed in a lost community where there are many conversions each year? How man converts did Noah have over 120 years? None. Was Noah faithful to God’s call during that time? What about Paul’s resume… did peace follow him where he went? Were all the churches he planted healthy and without problems after he left? Was Paul faithful? “Judge nothing before the time…”
This blog was sparked by a conversation with a pastor who was placed in a hard situation. He wants what every pastor wants… to be in a healthy, vibrant, dynamic, growing situation. Yet the Lord hasn’t seen fit for that to be the case. I want him… and pastors in situations like his… to know that faithfulness is what God rewards. God’s rewards aren’t always tied to numbers of baptisms, financial liquidity, or buildings. In fact there is one standard for God’s rewards… FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE. And every pastor can be that!