Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 (NKJV)
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. Matthew 16:27 (NKJV)
What is the same about Christmas and when Jesus takes us home? They both involve presents! Every year, people around the world celebrate Christ’s birth by giving each other gifts. When Jesus was born, wise men came from the East bearing gold, frankincense and mrryh (Matthew 2:11). And did you know, that when Jesus comes for us, He will also have presents?
Last summer I was writing a running series but stopped just short of the best part of the race…when we finish! Some day we will all cross that finish line, whether runners, walkers, or coach potatoes! And when we who believe in Jesus cross that line, Jesus will have gifts for us!
I love the races where everyone gets a prize. I first saw this when helping with Special Olympics. Every runner was given a hug and a medal when he or she crossed the finish line. Then a local fun run, the Cowpoke Stampede, awarded us all with cow ear tags! And when I finished my first and only marathon last year, I was delighted to have the volunteers place a “finisher” medal around my neck before I collapsed into the arms of my family.
Immensely far better than those earthly rewards will be the presents Jesus brings when He comes for us, whether now or at His second return. What kind of gifts will He give us? Some I found in God’s Word include… crowns, a new body with a white robe, white stones with our names, hidden manna, an inheritance, a mansion, and eternal life! Wow! All this in addition to the forgiveness, salvation (saving us from our sins), redemption (dying in our place on the cross), grace, mercy, peace, joy and hope He already has showered upon us here. No gift on earth, no tinsel, no lights can ever compare with what God has prepared for those who love Him!
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,
Nor have entered into the heart of man
The things which God has prepared for those who love Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NKJV)
Just like every finisher at the marathon gets a medal, all believers get a crown. And what will we do with our crowns? Cast them at the feet of Jesus in praise and glory to Him, our Savior and King! We will kneel before Him, just like the wise men did beside His little bed so long ago, and present our gifts which He provides for us, for we owe Him our eternal thanks and praise. Wow!
The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne… Revelation 4:10 (NKJV)
Let’s look at those seven gifts again:
- Crowns: Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. 2 Timothy 4:8 (NKJV) and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5:4 (NKJV)
- A new body with a white robe: For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NKJV) Then a white robe was given to each of them… Revelation 6:11 (NKJV)
- A white stone with your name: …And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it. Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
- Hidden manna: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat…Revelation 2:17 (NKJV)
- An inheritance: To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.1 Peter 1:4 (NKJV)
- A mansion: In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (NKJV)
- Eternal life: For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
Some dear church friends have recently gone to heaven to receive these final rewards. I see Randy, Orlando, Gale, Wally, Chuck, Kari, Don and others, wearing their white robes, and laying their crowns at the feet of Jesus. They are sitting around the fellowship halls in their mansions, with white name stones to mark their places, enjoying the hidden manna and chatting like old friends do, waiting for the rest of us to show up.
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. Revelation 22:12 (NKJV)
Today’s TEA CUPP: Dear friend, I want YOU at that fellowship time in heaven. Please ask Jesus into your heart today and welcome all the gifts He has for you! Two weeks ago, I wrote that Jesus is coming soon. One week ago, I shared about waiting and waiting. In just a few days we will celebrate Christmas, and for many children the waiting will be over. But for those of us who are longing for Jesus’ second return, we may still be waiting awhile longer. So be faithful, my friend. Jesus is coming with presents!
…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life. Revelation 2:10 (NKJV)
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 1 Corinthians 9:24-25 (NKJV)
…I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward. Genesis 15:1 (NKJV)
…each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:8 (NKJV)
So that men will say,
“Surely there is a reward for the righteous;
Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” Psalm 58:11 (NKJV)
Also to You, O Lord, belongs mercy;
For You render to each one according to his work. Psalm 62:12 (NKJV)
Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 2 John 8 (NKJV)
We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty,
The One who is and who was and who is to come,
Because You have taken Your great power and reigned…
And the time of the dead, that they should be judged,
And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints,
And those who fear Your name, small and great… Revelation 11:17-18 (NKJV)
(See also 2 Samuel 22:21, Isaiah 62:2, Isaiah 62:11)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.