Links Daily Devotional

Jesus, Our Reward

The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. (Psalm 16:5, ESV)

There is a coveted spot in the final ceremony of a golf tournament. If you win, you may hold up the trophy and kiss the prized reward. Whether it is the Claret Jug, or Wanamaker Trophy, or a nameless yet shiny representation of the victory, satisfaction meets glory in this sought-after ritual. The winner’s check is nice too, but it often blends in the bank account, whereas the trophy remains on display, for all to see.

Both the winner and the reward in Scripture are Christ himself. He wins us so that we win him as reward. And Psalm 2:12 says, “Kiss the Son.”

We may know that Christ is our very great reward, but if you are anything like me, I get excited about smaller rewards on a daily basis. Sometimes I call a piece of chocolate “divine!” I do not consistently have the attitude of Paul in Philippians 3:8, where he wrote that “for his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” The Hellenistic word for rubbish, according to Greek scholar Dan Wallace, is a word with a meaning in-between “crap” and the infamous other four-letter word. He writes: “The best translation, therefore, is one that picks up both worthlessness and revulsion, and probably a certain shock value.” The emotional range of the Bible can disturb even translators! And us also, of course. Would we dare calling the Claret Jug, or our health, bank accounts, and careers “dung” in view of Christ?

I don’t think Paul intended to diminish the fact that there are good gifts in this life, or to forbid us to rejoice in the good providence of the Lord. But I think he did want to augment the reality of Christ in our dull hearts and imaginations, and to show us a true comparison of facts: nothing comes even close to Christ’s worth and glory.

Our lips are desperately unclean to kiss such a holy trophy. Our parents in the Garden put their lips on the forbidden fruit, ruining right desires and thoughts for posterity. And all of us since the fall individually prove our solidarity with their transgression in our countless trespasses. Our brother Jacob deceived Isaac with a kiss, Noah drenched his lips on too much wine, Peter uttered denial with his lips, and the King of heaven was betrayed with a kiss. We are quick to curse with the mutterings of our heart not only our fellow man, but our Creator.

Yet we have a sure hope. The one who has won us is making us lovelier each day. Christ is the only trophy that can be gazed at and make the recipient more holy, healing pride in the heart. The shine of the Son of Man truly reflects our iniquities. Other rewards only kindle flattery and deceit, but this everlasting reward of grace and truth makes one humble and gracious. Lord Jesus, finish your work in us that we may sing with full hearts:

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my treasure Thou art.

Isabelle Beisiegel
May 21, 2015
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