The Servant’s Reward
“. . . Herod on his birthday gave a banquet . . .” Mark 6:21
What a contrast in lives – Herod celebrates his birthday with a lavish banquet. Food, friends, drinking and dancing fill up day and night. Late hours, crowded rooms, musical entertainment and a carousal of mixed company. For Herod, all seemed like well-deserved rewards for his power and prestige.
Then there’s John, God’s servant, cast into a gloomy prison. Nothing remained for him but the four walls of a dungeon, separated from family and friends. These were long, weary days awaiting a violent execution. This is how one of God’s most faithful was to spend his last days. Is this how God treats His friends?
We see in this verse how little reward God’s best servants receive in this world. Like Stephen and James, John was called to seal his testimony with his blood. There was no hero’s welcome, no party, no tickertape parade, no parting gifts, no notoriety. Just a solitary death.
Be prepared for the reality that others won’t celebrate your faithfulness to God. Your life of well-doing may go unnoticed, or even unappreciated. But we have a great assurance. For God’s servants the best is yet to come. Our rest, our crown, our reward are all on the other side of this life. Here in this world, we are told to walk by faith not sight. If we look for the praise of others, we will be disappointed. Here in this life, we suffer, labor, fight and endure persecution, not for fame and fortune, but for His kingdom.
There is a harvest on the faithfulness of your life. One day heaven will make amends for everything. No eye has seen, no ear has heard the things God has prepared for those who love Him. This momentary light affliction is achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs this present life.
Don’t feel sorry for John. He’s in heaven with all the faithful, worshipping the Lamb on the throne. Rather, feel sorry for Herod, when the party was over the lights went out, the memory of having killed one of God’s choicest servants was forever with him. He was alone with his sin.
Regardless of others’ responses to your faithfulness to Christ, commit to stay faithful to Him.