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At the start of Wednesday night class, each student is given three rubber bands. They don’t “earn” them, they get the rubber bands simply for showing up for class. They have instant gratification right in their hands. They keep the rubber bands through the evening by treating their lessons and others students with respect and not creating distractions. Should any of those things occur, a rubber band is returned to the teacher.
Why try to keep those rubber bands? At the end of an hour and a half, there are treats. Three separate treats. The loss of one rubber band removes one treat.
What’s the lesson for me? Well, we get a lot more than three rubber bands when we accept Jesus as our savior – we get eternal life with Him in a place of His choosing.
However, we do NOT get instant gratification and according to how I read the Bible (and have heard from others’ reading, too) we won’t lose that eternal life. There are treats available – earned. Such as the Crown of Rejoicing:
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming? (1 Thessalonians 2:19 KJV)
To know that someone we love, someone we taught about our Lord, someone who followed Him and will be with Him at His return would be a moment of rejoicing, a crown from our Lord!
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. (2 Timothy 4:8 KJV)
I’ll get this one – not because of my righteousness, but because I do love Him and will rejoice at His appearance!
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (James 1:12 KJV)
I have not passed by all the temptations I’ve met, but I do love my Lord and believe His promises!
And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (1 Peter 5:4 KJV)
I won’t receive this one. The verses preceding this one define those eligible:
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:1-3 KJV)
That’s awesome responsibility, isn’t it? I believe we are aware there are some who do have not fed the flock God’s flock as Paul did:
For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.
(Acts 20:27 KJV)
It takes hearing the likeable as well as the hard instructions, as Peter said:
And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Peter 3:15-16 KJV)
So much better than treats for retained rubber bands, right?