Was reading this morning about King Hezekiah of Judah. 2 Kings 18:5-7 says:
5 Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. 6 He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses. 7 And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook.
That was pretty heady stuff. I mean, he's being compared to a lot of great kings. I really keyed in on was verse 7. Hezekiah "held fast" to the Lord and did not cease to follow Him. Because of this, God blessed him in "whatever he undertook." I sat back thought about that verse. I eventually came to the realization that, while not my sole motivation, I have allowed it to at least become a consideration in my Christian walk that "If I really walk the line and love the Lord, He'll bless me: My work, my family, and everything in my life." Fringe benefits for being a Christian?
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I should serve the Lord because He's my Lord and I love Him...period. What I perceive as successes in life (promotions, getting rich) may not ever happen. My eye should not be on what I'll get in this life by faithfully serving the Lord, but doing the absolute best with what God's given me at the time. Taken to the other end of the spectrum, if bad things were to happen, would that change how I felt about serving Him? Would it mean that I wasn't faithfully serving Him? Would I be like Job and hold fast despite my world crumbling down around me? I began to realize that circumstances in my life may change, but my love and energy level serving God should not. This reevaluation opens a whole new world of trusting the Lord and peace with all that could happen in my life.
I also came to the conclusion that if God does choose to bless me, these blessings are a "means" and are not the "ends." Blessings from God are not some kind of reward for faithfulness...He's doing it for a reason--God blesses us so that we can bless others.
11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corintians 9:11