Have you ever had a terrible day and thought something along the lines of, “Why would God allow this to happen to me? I’ve been a good Christian. I’ve tithed. I’ve been loving. What have I done to deserve this?”
Jesus said to His disciples, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’? Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’? Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”
While God is pleased when people obey Him, they are not doing Him any favors. Obedience is what we owe God. It is our duty to obey Him.
The tipping industry in America is very different from the rest of the world. Bartenders in England, for example, don’t expect to be tipped. Why would they, they think, because they’re just doing their duty? Tending the bar is what they’re paid to do. It’s the price of admission.
In the same way, we shouldn’t expect to be tipped by God when we obey Him. It is our duty to do so. The only thing that we would deserve if we perfectly obeyed is to not be punished. So, when you’re having that terrible day, sheep, don’t count your works, which are ultimately done through you by the Holy Spirit anyway. Instead, praise God for the way He’s using that terrible day for your good and for His glory.
With that said, God does often reward obedience. First of all, obedience has its own reward built in, just as we suffer natural consequences when we sin. For example, when we do not commit adultery, it makes for a more enriching marriage. Or when we work hard, as to the Lord, we get a raise or promoted. But also, God supernaturally works to reward obedience in some cases. For example, He financially blessed those who tithed faithfully in Israel. He blessed Solomon with riches and wisdom for his humility. He made it well with Israel when they were obedient.
However, not every blessing is directly linked to an act of obedience any more than every calamity is directly linked to a sin. With that said, it’s better to just obey for the sake of loving God the way Jesus told us to do. And may the Lord give and take away as He pleases.
It’s important that we maintain a right mindset about this. When we are tempted to ask God where our reward is, let us say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” And pray that the Holy Spirit would humble us daily.
1 Chronicles 28