Why do you serve the Lord? We do not serve God for temporal rewards like recognition or promotion; we serve for eternity! When we get to heaven, each of us will receive a crown. The Bible mentions five different types of crowns that will be given to the faithful. Which of these crowns will you receive?
1. The Imperishable Crown “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). This crown is for those who victoriously run the race of life, those who bring their flesh under the Spirit’s control, and those who refuse to be enslaved by their sinful nature. Olympic athletes who succeed, train and are disciplined, they keep their eyes on the prize, they stay focused, and they have a purpose for running. They win temporary glory...but we run for eternal glory. We run for ETERNITY!
2. The Crown of Glorious Fruit “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when He comes? Is it not you? Indeed, you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19-20). This crown is mentioned again in Philippians 4:1, “Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown…” Paul’s spiritual fruit is his crown. Those who receive this crown are soul winners, they are disciple makers, and they are faithful to declare the Gospel.
Once, a woman went to heaven and noticed everyone wearing crowns. She asked an angel, “Where is my crown, for I have not received one yet?” “Oh,” the angel said, “On what basis do you deserve a crown?” She replied, “I witnessed in my way.” “Oh?” the angel asked, “So, tell me, what sort of witness were you in your lifetime of Christian living?” “I was a silent witness,” she explained. “I see,” said the angel, “Then for your silent witness, you shall receive an invisible crown. Here they are, you may select one in your size.” He pointed to a case that appeared to be empty. “But, I don’t see any crowns in there,” she wondered, “How are others to see I am wearing one of these?” “Oh,” explained the angel, “In the same way in which they learned of Christ through what you say is recorded as your silent witness.”
3. The Crown of Righteousness “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-- and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). This crown is for those who are looking for Christ to return. Did you know He is coming soon?
4. The Crown of Life “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Again, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). The crown of life is also known as the crown of martyrs. On the mission field I have met many who are willing to give their life for Christ. This is the heavenly equivalent of the Purple Heart or the Medal of Honor. Those who receive this crown will be battle-scarred soldiers who served bravely. They are willing to both DIE for Christ and LIVE for Christ.
5. The Crown of Glory “Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers - not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away” (1 Peter 5:2-4). This crown will be given to the faithful shepherds of God’s flock.
We must be faithful to serve God lest we lose our crown. Jesus says, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11).
There are 3 ways people lose their crowns:
1. Lack of Faithfulness. They get tired of doing right.
2. Lack of Righteousness. They allow sin to enter in. A moment of weakness can lose a lifetime of reward...sin will keep you longer then you want to stay, take you farther then you want to go, cost you more than you want to pay. “The crown has fallen from our head. Woe to us, for we have sinned!” (Lamentations 5:16).
3. Lack of Focus. They look at distractions and put their eyes on things of this world instead of on eternity.
What will we do with our crown in heaven? “The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne, and worship Him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:10-11). In heaven there will be no boasting, no strutting around like proud peacocks, no displaying of trophies. In heaven we cast our crowns before Jesus because He is the only One worthy. He is the only One deserving of praise. All our rewards will pale in comparison to His magnificence. The more you earn, the more you get to lay at the feet of Jesus.
When I get to heaven, I want to receive a beautiful crown to lay at the feet of Jesus. What about you?