Reward. That was perhaps the thesis of Pastor Bert’s sermon this past Sunday. God is our great reward.
When we think about rewards, we often think about something we have earned through some great work of our own. So, if God is our reward, we must have done something great to deserve Him. Well, I would suggest, that is a great blasphemy. In fact, the image that we have from Scripture is quite the opposite.In our passage this past Sunday (Genesis 15), we have God, Who, in the image of a firepot, travels between the separated carcasses of slaughtered animals. Pastor Bert mentioned this as an Ancient Near Eastern (ANE) way of signing a contract — the breaking, of which, would result in the slaughter of the breaker. An interesting thing to note is the ANE tradition normally has both parties traveling down the same path to symbolize the same commitment — yet it is only God who does so for both parties. So while we often think in terms of a reward being received as a result of the receiver’s doing, the reward here is given as a result of the giver’s doing.
For me, the idea that God is my reward is such a hard thing to embrace. I rarely think I am deserving enough for the receipt of such a gift. Interestingly, many people find the exact opposite as true — many accept the reward wholeheartedly but abuse their reward and live only for themselves (this is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer calls “cheap grace” in his The Cost of Discipleship).
The crux of this reality of God as my reward is the fact that God chose to do a great task in order for us to be a great people in a great relationship. Nothing I deserve and nothing I should waste.
– Alex Chow
This was the second sermon of the year and a continuation of our series. You can find the entire series at the BCEC Sermon Page or listen to last week’s sermon directly – Faithful, True, Protector.