They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
Thoughts for Today:Psalms 16:11: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." This is one of many verses that assures all Christians of complete joy and total happiness in heaven. However, the Bible also tells us the "crowns" we win while on the earth have a direct connection to our function and capacity to enjoy eternity. The crown Paul speaks of in our passage today is one of five crowns mentioned in the Bible. Following is a brief description of each crown:
1. The forever or incorruptible crown: 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. It is also called the imperishable crown and is given to those believers who are more concerned with seeing people saved than with their own pleasure, comfort or liberty. For example, God calls some people to be missionaries -- they sacrifice the money, possessions and life style they might otherwise have enjoyed.
2. The crown of rejoicing: 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 and Dan 12:3. Given to those who faithfully witness to others of the saving grace of God -- they lead people to Jesus.
3. The crown of life: James 1:12. For those believers who endure trials, tribulations, and such severe suffering it could even lead to death (Revelation 2:8-11). This crown is also referred to as the martyr's crown.
4. The crown of righteousness: 2 Timothy 4:8. This crown is given to those who have lived a good and righteous life for God. Also, for those who longingly look forward to the Day of His glorious return.
5. The crown of glory: 1 Peter 5:1-4. This is the pastor's crown and will be given to those who faithfully lead the Church. In my opinion, it also includes associate pastors, preachers, teachers, Sunday school teachers, missionaries and everyone else who teaches the Word of God in their respective ministries. This crown illustrates the significance of raising others to spiritual maturity in the ways of God.
Paul knew a crown was not something to wear on his head, but rather an indication of what we would be doing and how we will be rewarded for all of eternity. Which crown or crowns will you enjoy?
Questions to Ponder:Are you wasting your time? Are you misusing or squandering the talents God has given you? What will you be doing for eternity? Will you be given a crown? Perhaps it is time to adjust your life to God's will.