The IMPERISHABLE crown
The crown of EXULTATION
The crown of RIGHTEOUSNESS
The crown of LIFE
The fifth and final crown that God has available for us as a reward is…
5. THE CROWN OF GLORY
1 Peter 5:2-4 Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 3nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. 4And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (NAU)
This crown is different from the others in that it is for those who serve in a pastoral position and faithfully shepherd the flock of God according to the requirements listed in verses 2 and 3. This could refer to both ordained pastors as well as lay pastors who shepherd God’s flock as helpers.
Three things can be seen in these verses concerning the ministry of a pastor or shepherd.
1) He is to feed the church – “shepherd” means “to feed”.
2) He is to exercise oversight over the church.
3) He is to be an example to the church.
Notice also four qualities that should characterize his ministry.
1) Willingness – “not under compulsion, but voluntarily.”
2) Obedience – “according to the will of God.”
3) Right Motivation – “not for sordid gain, but with eagerness.”
4) Servant’s Attitude – “nor yet lording it over those allotted to your charge.”
These are the eternal rewards that a servant of the Lord can receive.
What are we going to do with these crowns if God gives us one of them?
Revelation 4:5-11 From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. 6 Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. 7 The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. 8 Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” 9 Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, 10 the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: 11 “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” (NIV)
We will not show them off and brag about them to one another. But rather, we will bow in worship to God and cast our crowns before him, giving him all honor, glory, and praise.
Are you serving God?
Are you influencing those around you to serve the Lord?
Are you going to receive one of these rewards, or will you stand before God empty-handed?
1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.
An elderly missionary couple who had served God for 50 years in a remote African village returned to the United States for a well-earned retirement. When they arrived, however, no one was there to greet them because of some confusion at the mission office. They had no one to help them with their suitcases and trunks, and no one to move them into their home. The old gentleman complained to his wife, “We’ve come home after all these years and there’s no one who cares.”
The man’s bitterness grew as they settled into their new home. His wife, a bit fed up with his complaining, suggested that he take up the matter with God. So the man went to his bedroom and spent time in prayer. When he came out he had a new look on his face, which prompted his wife to ask what had happened.
“Well,” he replied, “I told God that I’ve come home and no one cares.” “And what did God say?” she asked. “He said, ‘You’re not home yet.’”
You too may serve for years in a place where no one notices you or cares what you’ve done. But God sees and cares. One day, when we reach our eternal home, “each one’s praise will come from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5). In the meantime, let’s be faithful.
The world rewards success; but God rewards faithfulness!