There's A Reward With Your Name On It!
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Haggai 2:9; 20-23
Sunday 10th November 2013
Last week, in the message, ‘I am a Finisher’, we understood the truth that we must finish our Kingdom assignment and that our ability to do so is directly linked to our level of commitment. We looked at the life of Nehemiah as an example of one whom possessed the attributes of a finisher, recognising that finishers have a burden for their Kingdom assignment, they are selfless, determined, focussed and they refuse to give up. Today, I want us to turn our attention to obtaining a greater understanding of why it is important to finish our assignment.
For everything that you do for the Kingdom of God, there is a reward. This is not a generic reward, it is a reward which has your name written on it. There is a bespoke reward that has been specifically tailor-made, one which only you can claim. In the foundation scripture, we see the prophet Haggai prophesying to Zerubbabel ‘“In that day” says the Lord of hosts, “I will take you Zerubbabel My servant, the son of Shealtiel” says the Lord, “and will make you like a signet ring; for I have chosen you,” says the Lord of hosts.’ The book of Haggai represents an interesting exchange between God and the church of Jesus Christ. If we apply the message given to Zerubbabel to ourselves, we understand that God is saying to us, “I will take you and I will make you because I have chosen you.”
The truth is that there is a reward for each of us as there is a destiny that each of us has been called to fulfil. We are on a journey which mirrors the story of journey that the children of Israel went through. It is a journey from hopelessness to hope and the fulfilment of destiny. It is a story which makes us to understand that regardless of how meagre and wretched our beginning, God can use us and God will use us. The promises of God still stand irrespective of the challenges that we may face. In Haggai 2: 23 we see God singling out Zerubbabel. The spotlight of Heaven was shone on one single man. This demonstrates just how important each of us are to God and that God has a specific purpose for each of our lives.
Zerubbabel was promised a great reward for fulfilling his assignment: God would make him as His signet ring, a symbol of the authority and power of God. As God defined your purpose, He defined the reward that would be attached to it. We can be certain that there is a reward that is attached to the obedient fulfilment of our assignment. Nothing that we have been assigned to accomplish in the Kingdom of God is devoid of reward.
No human being can adequately reward you for your efforts or for your faithfulness. Hebrews 11:6 describes God as ‘a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.’ The Greek word used here is indicative of one who pays your wages, your employer. From this therefore we understand that it is God who is your true employer. Your employers do not pay you what you are worth, they merely utilise your skills and giftings to make a profit. They typically pay you less than you are worth as it is the disparity between what you are worth and what you are paid that enables them to make a profit. If you did not enable your employer to make a profit, you would not be there. By contrast however, the very nature of God is to reward you and repay you far more than you deserve. He repays you to a far greater degree than your efforts deserve. If you look to man to reward you, you will always be short-changed. God however is generous and just rewarder for your accomplishments for the Kingdom.
2 John 8 says, ‘Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.’This scripture reminds us to pay attention to what we do with our assignment in order to ensure that we do not lose our reward. God did not call you to serve Him in vain. He is very much mindful of the reward that He has planned for you. Isaiah 45: 19 says, ‘..I did not say to the seed of Jacob “Seek me in vain”...’ We have not been called to fruitless service. God has promised us a just reward. Every act of service for His Kingdom will be rewarded and God’s reward always outshines our service. For this reason, we must be sure that we are giving our best to God. Only the very best is good enough for God. You should ask yourself the question how you would pay yourself for the service that you offer to God and use this to adjust your priorities.
Everything that we do in the body of Christ is to enable us to be re-aligned to the purpose of God and in doing so, to be re-aligned to our reward. Instead of running away from God’s assignment for our lives, we should readily embrace it, as attached to that assignment is our reward. God does not wish to withdraw His reward. If anything, the scriptures demonstrate the very opposite: He is desperate for us to fulfil our assignment as He longs to ensure that we receive our reward. However we have a part to play and we must position ourselves to access what God has planned for us. One of the major reasons that the enemy battles against us is to ensure that we do not obtain our reward. When Satan attacks your marriage, your health or your career, he is not interested in whatever it is that he has attacked, he merely seeks to distract and divert you from the fulfilment of your assignment in order that you do not receive your reward. I declare however in the Name of Jesus: ‘You will not lose your reward’!
There are three key things to which we must pay careful attention to in order to ensure that we obtain our reward; let’s look at them together:
1. Overcome the barriers of limitation in your mind – this relates to everything that tells you that you cannot fulfil your assignment. We see many examples in scripture of those whom convinced themselves that they could not fulfil what God had called them to do. One of the earliest examples in scripture is in Genesis 11 where we learn that Terah had left his home in Ur of the Chaldeans to go to the land of Canaan but instead of going to the land of promise, he stayed at Haran and died there. Similarly, we see in Exodus 4 that Moses tried to convince God that he was incapable of being the deliverer of the children of Israel, telling God that he was unable to speak. Here, however, we see the extraordinarily merciful nature of God who responded to Moses’ protestations of inadequacy by confirming that He, the creator of every physical function, would be with him: ‘Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.’ God was determined to ensure that Moses did not lose out on his reward and confirmed to him that He had been called, notwithstanding his limitations and promised to be with him.
Gideon also sought to argue himself out of his destiny. He tried to rationalise with God that he, as the least in his clan, in the smallest tribe in Israel was fundamentally incapable of leading the Israelites to victory against the Midianites. Again, we see God going out of His way to ensure that Gideon did not miss out on his reward, assuring him of His presence and that he had been called, notwithstanding his apparent inability. We see this same pattern in God’s response to Jeremiah’s protestation that he was too young to be used of God.
We should argue defiantly against the voices that tell us that we cannot fulfil what God has called us to do but we should not argue with God as attached to our assignment is our reward. Who told you that you could not fulfil the assignment that God has designed for you? This battle between the voices that tell you that you are not good enough when God has called you to His assignment is conducted in your mind. As it is in your mind that the battlefield is situated, you must renew your mind with the word of God. Romans 12: 2 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. This is done by saturating our minds with the word of God and eventually, the thoughts of doubt and inadequacy will be displaced and our thought processes and thought-patterns will resemble the truth of God’s word.
2. Be Willing to go Through the Process – A generation of Christians has arisen with the expectation that they will simply start and then immediately finish; they will name and claim, misunderstanding completely that between every start and corresponding finish, there is a journey or a process. We are happy to begin and even happier at the prospect of finishing, but we are not happy to go through the process. It is a good thing to be reward orientated but we must understand that there is a process or a journey between where we are and our reward. In Hebrews 12: 2 we see a perfect example of Jesus’ reward-orientated nature coupled with His willingness to go through the process to achieve the reward: ‘looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the same and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.’ For the joy of seeing each of us adopted into the family of God, Jesus embraced the cruelty, injustice and the agony of the cross. We were the reward that He had in mind.It is the process that leads to the finishing line. There is no way of escaping it. If you focus on the joy that is ahead of you, you can endure whatever challenge that you face along the way.
3. Embrace the Spirit of Excellence – Only the best is good enough for God. In order to ensure that we do not lose out on the reward that God has attached to the accomplishment of our assignment, it is essential that we give our very best to God. Our service, our intercession, our giving must represent the very best that we are able to give; nothing less will do.
In summary therefore, looking back to Haggai 2: 23, we understand that God came to Zerubbabel through the prophet Haggai and promised to make him a symbol of God’s power and authority. God’s covenant promise to David in 1 Kings 2 that there would always be a descendent of his on the throne of Israel had been suspended when due to disobedience and idolatry, the people of Israel had gone into captivity. Now however with the prophetic announcement to Zerubbabel, the promise was being re-activated. Zerubbabel entered into the purpose of God. If he had not given his best, this prophecy would have been left unfulfilled. You too have been chosen in this season; your life represents the prophetic fulfilment of God’s purpose. For every day of your labour, there is a reward; for every act of faithfulness, obedience and sacrifice in advancing the Kingdom of God a reward awaits you. This is the season for the manifestation of what God has designed for you to receive. Determine therefore to fulfil your assignment and step into the fullness of what God has designed for you. There is a reward with your name on it!
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