My daughter has a Panera rewards card.
This month she got a super duper bonus reward.
She gets a free bagel every single day of the month of March.
When she told me this, my first thought was, They have no idea what they’ve just done.
There is a Panera not far from her apartment.
She will collect every single bagel coming to her.
To my daughter, a broke college student, a bagel is gold.
It’s only March 8th and they know her already.
She walks in the door and they ask “Hey, what kind do you want today?”
She tells them and they hand it to her…free.
I’ll be honest, I’m a little jealous.
I want to be rewarded like that, I know for a fact that I’ve been a more faithful Panera customer.
But it seems my expenditures and my loyalty to Panera are all but forgotten, except for the occasional dollar off of a You Pick Two…sigh…
Like Panera, God loves to give rewards.
Unlike Panera, God’s rewards are not random.
God rewards our love and faithfulness to Him.
He loves to reward us.
And, boy, do we love rewards!
God warns us in His word, though, not to seek reward for ourselves.
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” – Matthew 6:1-4
When we are public with our faithfulness, the accolades we receive in real time are the only reward we will receive.
The praise of man is good, it feels good, but what am I sacrificing when I settle for that?
The bible speaks of God’s reward as an inheritance (Colossians 3:23,24)…what no human mind has conceived (1 Cor. 2:9)…He will lift us up (1 Pet 5:6; James 4:10)…a crown that will last forever (1 Cor 9:25)…a good harvest (Galatians 6:9) and so, so much more.
The praise of man pales in comparison.
And a bagel…well, it’s just a bagel.