I got a glimpse of how God rewards us recently when I mentally scrolled back through my earthly employment history. My first job paid $2.50 an hour. Employed by a grant-funded program to provide summer jobs for underprivileged youth, I worked in the Bristol Town Hall running errands.
When I graduated from Dental Hygiene school in 1984, my first professional position netted me a whopping $8 an hour. That was enough money to buy my first car—a 1982 Toyota Starlet.
Thirty years later, I still work as a dental hygienist, but I’m also a freelance writer. On a good day, freelance writers get paid about $2.50 an hour. Funny how life comes full circle.
Some publications I write for pay me “on acceptance.” This means as soon as they accept my article, I receive a check—SWEET. Not much lag time between my effort and my reward.
Other publications pay “upon publication.” This means I receive a check shortly after the article appears online or in print. Not bad if I’m writing for a current issue, but sometimes I submit a seasonal piece that won’t be published for three to six months.
And finally, I write for one devotional that pays upon publication, and they solicit submissions TWO YEARS in advance. By the time I receive a paycheck from them, I've long forgotten the article they're paying me for.
God's economy is a lot like the freelance writing world.
Some of the work I do for the Lord reaps instant rewards. I bring a meal to a sick church member and receive a smile and a grateful thank you. Other work, like discipling a new believer, takes a little longer to see the fruit. Two or three months down the road she might decide to get baptized or share her faith with someone for the first time.
I do other labor for which I wonder if I’ll ever receive a reward—the “upon publication” work that often takes years, if not decades, to come to fruition. The money I donate to mission projects to evangelize people I’ve never met. Or the thousands of early morning prayers I pray for the salvation of my loved ones. This type of labor is “soul sweat,” the work I do with little or no visible results.
When I struggle to persevere, Hebrews 6:10 comforts and encourages me:
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”
If you’re wondering today if working for the Lord is worth it, remember that we walk by faith, not by sight. And though God kindly encourages us with glimpses of how he is using our kingdom work, we won’t see the full results of our toil and tears until we get to heaven.
But oh, when we see it. It will be worth it all.
"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!’” (Mat. 25:23).
If you're reading by email, and can't see the video "Thank You," by Ray Boltz, click HERE to watch it on YouTube. And when you do, remember to pray for Ray.