By Dr. James C. Denison
President, the Center for Informed Faith, Dallas, Texas
April 30, 2010
Topic: living for eternity
Crowns and shacks
“Better late than never,” said Titus Livius (59 BC-AD 17). The Roman historian also observed that “men are slower to recognize blessings than misfortunes.” Right on both counts, as America’s latest Olympic medalist can testify.
Today’s Wall Street Journal tells us about Kristen Maloney, a gymnast who finished fourth in the 2000 Sydney Games, or so everyone thought. This week the International Olympic Committee stripped China’s team of its bronze medal because one of its athletes was only 14 when she competed (the minimum age is 16). Now Ms. Maloney and her teammates are Olympic medalists. I did some checking: the Russians won silver that year, competing with two 16-year-old athletes. Maybe the IOC should keep investigating?
There are rewards on earth and there are rewards in heaven. The Bible promises “crowns” to those who are faithful in their service to our King. For instance, there is the “crown of life”: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12). What trial are you facing today?
Some will receive the “soul-winner’s crown:” “What is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). Who will be in heaven because of you?
You might receive the “crown of righteousness:” “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Are you keeping the faith today?
For Christian leaders there is the “crown of glory:” “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, serving as overseers-not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). Who is closer to Jesus because of you?
The crowns of heaven remind us that what we do today bears eternal significance. You’ve perhaps heard about the corrupt building contractor who built a house for a wealthy friend, cutting corners and using inferior materials wherever he could. When he finished the house, his friend gave him the keys and said, “It’s yours.”
There’s a story about a business tycoon who made a fortune in money and fame, but gave little of himself or his wealth to God. When he died, Peter showed him to his home in heaven-a small shack. He protested loudly, but Peter shrugged his shoulders and explained, “I did the best I could with what you sent me.”
What will you send heaven today?
By Dr. James C. Denison