Michael Siegma writes; “A friend’s kids went to an elementary school where “Honor Student” awards were handed out alphabetically so that (as one of his daughter’s teachers explained) “everybody gets the award, and there are no favorites: it’s alphabetical!” When my friend pointed out that his daughter’s last name meant she’d go last — “and that’s hardly fair,” he said with his most worried/frustrated/grim face — the teacher grew nervous, and stuttered through an alternative: “Maybe we could go boy-girl-boy-girl?”
Siegma concludes, “The school stuck with the alphabet. The ceremony gave new meaning to the term “A student.”
America’s culture of grade inflation (which influences almost everybody) plays a role in our view of eternal rewards (when we all get to heaven, every saint receives an A). This runs counter to the Bible and 2000 years of Church teaching.
During the three years, Jesus trained His disciples, How many times did Jesus praise His disciple by saying something like “that a boy” or “way to go!”
Luke 17:7 begins, “Jesus said to the apostles.”
Luke, being the precise doctor that he was, chose his words carefully. In his made sure the reader knew who the audience was. When Jesus was talking to the crowds he made sure the reader knew he was referring to the group who were already taking up their cross (i.e. disciples). In Luke 17, he refers to the audience as the 12 apostles (cf. Luke 9:3-5,10-17,22; 18:31-33; 22:14-46).
In Luke 17: 7-10, Jesus outlines his theory of leadership to the apostles.
“Who among you would say to your servant who has just come in from plowing or tending sheep in the field, ‘Come here immediately and take your place at table’? Would he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare something for me to eat. Put on your apron and wait on me while I eat and drink. You may eat and drink when I am finished’? Is he grateful to that servant because he did what was commanded? So should it be with you. When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'”
Frankly, if I was an apostle, I’d like a few more “high five’s” from Jesus. But Jesus wants His followers to be free from the attachment of things and people’s praise.
- There will true glory be, where no one will be praised by mistake or flattery; true honor will not be refused to the worthy, nor granted to the unworthy; likewise, no one unworthy will pretend to be worthy, where only those who are worthy will be admitted. There true peace will reign, where no one will experience opposition either from self or others. God himself will be virtue’s reward; he gives virtue and has promised to give himself as the best and greatest reward that could exist. . . . “I shall be their God and they will be my people. . . . ” This is also the meaning of the Apostle’s words: “So that God may be all in all.” God himself will be the goal of our desires; we shall contemplate him without end, love him without surfeit, praise him without weariness. This gift, this state, this act, like eternal life itself, will assuredly be common to all.
To borrow a line from a movie title, REWARDS CAN WAIT.