Most Christians know that there will be rewards in heaven for our faithfulness, and they know that the amount of the rewards will be determined when our works are tried by fire (1 Corinthians 3:9-15). Before I continue, I may need to remind some that Salvation is by grace through faith alone and works are the natural product of Salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10). Rewards are for the work we allow God to do through us (Philippians 1:6; 2:13). You would think that being adopted as His children would be enough, but God loves us so much that He wants to show His gratitude for our yielding to the Holy Spirit. Grace upon grace - amazing!
This made me wonder how God would determine the reward for those who were led to do "small things," as compared to those He used mightily; say the person who gets saved near the end of his life, as apposed to someone who is Spirit filled from an early age. Or what about different levels of faith (Romans 12:3-8)? I am reminded of the Lord's teaching on stewardship of the Master's goods (Matthew 25:14-30). The Master rewarded His faithful stewards in proportion to the amount entrusted to them. God, being all-knowing, gives His children differing amounts of opportunity to serve Him. He never gives us more than we can handle.
It appears that God gives His children different levels of knowledge concerning His plan and His will (compare Matthew 13:11-12 with Luke 8:16-18). Isaiah 49:6 speaks of this knowledge as being "light" which can bring someone to Salvation. Jesus said, "I Am the Light of the world" (John 8:12; 9:5). As long as Jesus was living on Earth, He was the Light, the manifestation of Truth. Now that He has ascended into heaven "for a spell," we are the light (John 8:12; Philippians 2:15). We are to shine in such a way that God receives the glory (Matthew 5:14-16). So then, believers are given various levels of light for which we are accountable as stewards. The quality of our works is determined by how much light we show the world in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our works of gold, silver, and precious stones, are all works done in the power of the Holy Spirit and for the glory of God. Those belong to Him. We don't get to keep them, as if they do us any good in heaven. Our rewards are depicted in Scripture as crowns (1 Corinthians 9:25; 2 Timothy 4:8; James 1:12; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10; 3:11). Because we will understand that our rewards rightly belong to God, for it is God Who works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13), we will join the twenty-four elders in casting them at His feet (Revelation 4:10). I cannot comprehend that scene, but I know I will enjoy it!
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will address those who receive light and reject it.