Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Five Crowns

The twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They cast their crowns before the throne, saying, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. Revelation 4:10-11

I was recently at a conference where the speaker referred to the five crowns believers can receive in Heaven.  I thought it was very interesting and hope that you might find it interesting too. 
The Bible speaks of five different crowns or rewards that will be attainable in Heaven.  None of us really know exactly how it will all go down in Heaven.  We know that there will be rewards.  Paul speaks of them as crowns but – will they really be crowns like we are thinking of?  During this time, an athlete was awarded a “crown” of laurel – a wreath of sorts.  This was Paul’s reference for the word crown. Whether it is wreath we are adorned with or an actual golden crown complete with jewels, we won’t know until we get there.  
It is important to note that of course, we do not want to do the things we do for the Kingdom of God only because there will be a reward.  We serve God out of our hearts and obedience to Him. These rewards are not about competing with other Christians to see who can be the “best Christian.”  The competition is between our old selves – the “flesh” - and our new selves.  Victory comes when we allow God to change us, put the old self to death, and get rid of our selfish desires.  
However, for all our good deeds, not even in Heaven will we be worthy to keep these crowns.  Only Jesus is worthy of that glory and honor.  We will cast them at the feet of Jesus Christ, to worship Him and give Him the glory for anything we have done in His name. It is a small offering for who gave His life for us.  
Incorruptible CrownEveryone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
1 Corinthians 9:25
The Bible tells us The Incorruptible Crown will be given to those who faithfully run the race, putting aside their own selfish desires, to help others see Jesus.  
Jesus encourages us not to spend our time and money on things that don’t have eternal value.  The things of this earth will pass away, along with our bodies, and we are encouraged to strive for what lies ahead. We are not here for long, although it sometimes feels like a long time to us.  In the scope of eternity our lives are mere seconds.  
The things that we should be working for are the things that will last forever - making disciples and keeping our relationship with God on track.  We will all be judged for the way we spend our time.  That makes me think twice about the time I waste.  There are no rewards in Heaven for perfect Instagram pictures or Netflix marathons.  It doesn’t mean it’s not ok to do that sometimes.  There is definite value in relaxation and connecting with others through social media, as long as we don’t spend more time doing that than working for the Lord.  
What does it look like to be working towards eternal treasures?  Does that mean we are on Mission trips year-round or sell everything and take our family on the road to evangelize?  For some it does. But for most of us, how we spend our lives in our day to day can all be for His glory.  When we take care of our children and teach them about God we are making disciples. When we care for our spouse, neighbor, friends, we are showing the love of God to others and making a difference in their lives.  It means that we live more intentional and on purpose.  It means being a good steward with our time and spending more of it on things for eternal glory, not earthly pleasures. 
Scripture to Claim:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal… Matthew 6:19

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