Daily Devotion - February 10, 2021 - The Ultimate Reward

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – February 10, 2021
Reading:
Philippians 3
Weekly Theme: The Rewards of Ministry
Today: The Ultimate Reward

This past Sunday, 25,000 people joined 30,000 fan cutouts at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida to attend Super Bowl LV. In addition to those attending the game, 96.4 million viewed the game through various media venues. It was a different event due to COVID but there was still hype as Tom Brady in his first year with the Bucs led them to their first Super Bowl win since 2003, an amazing fete, even for a very fit 43-year-old man. The prize in addition to leading his new team to victory was playing his tenth Super Bowl, obtaining his seventh Super Bowl ring and a huge trophy for his team and teammates, as well as many benefits yet to be realized. I am sure Brady, the entire team, and their fans are still rejoicing in the victory. But in the not-too-distant future, they will begin to prepare for next year’s season and will not be satisfied with just this one victory. No matter how many super bowls one individual or one teams wins, they are always looking toward to their next reward. One is never enough. This same pattern of behavior pertains to most of us if we are to be honest. We are never content in life; we always want to win one more time or make one more buck or have a bigger, better paycheck, or a newer house, or a bigger boat...

In today’s passage, Paul is reminding the people of Philippi to keep their eyes on the prize and as usual with Paul, he offers them some advice before telling them what the ultimate reward will be. He tells them to not place confidence in the flesh which will get us in trouble every time. Paul also reminds them to not ever think they have “fully arrived” eveb when it comes to conquering the flesh by engaging in the many acts of piety he did as a Jew, such as circumcision and keeping the laws.  For Paul, in the absence of God's presence with him, these were only empty acts of "pretend holiness" resulting in nothing spiritual for Paul. Paul shares with the Philippians that his gain comes from being in relationship with Christ and recognizing that his righteousness does not come from the law but comes solely from the mighty acts of Jesus Christ and having faith in Christ alone. In other words, the prize is Christ.

Paul concludes by encouraging new believers to follow the example of those who live a life of sacrificing all for the sake of Jesus Christ. With tears, Paul tells them what happens to those whose “god is their stomach” and “whose minds are on earthly things”; their self-glorification will ultimately be their shame and they will be destroyed. The things of this earth do not last; they fade away.

For the believer, the prize is in having peace and hope as we wait for Christ and fulfillment of the promise of citizenship in heaven, where we will fully realize and witness as Jesus brings everything under his control and transforms our bodies so that we will be more like him. And that, my friends, is the ultimate reward now and always… better than any earthly-fit body, any Super Bowl win or ring or trophy or any other thing on earth. Being in the very presence of the author and perfector of our faith, Jesus Christ, is and will be the greatest reward ever and forever. Amen.

Dear God, thank you so much, over and over many times for the teachings of your apostle Paul who had such conviction from his past yet was never stymied by it, but rather proclaimed the change brought about in him through your grace and the mighty acts of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to have Paul’s passion to share the good news and to set an example for others by having hope in the greatest prize, being in relationship with you… God Almighty Lord Jesus Holy Spirit, in whose name we pray. Amen.

 
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