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Getting Rewards Right Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer
The Truth Network Radio
August 19, 2021 1:00 am

Getting Rewards Right Part 2

Running to Win / Erwin Lutzer

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August 19, 2021 1:00 am

We don’t always understand the reasons, but God chooses to give some of His children more than others—more abilities, more money, and better health. When we realize that the Giver is the one who distributes the gifts, and not the receiver, we’ve come a long way in understanding how God rewards his people.

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Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith. God chooses to give some of His children more than others, more abilities, more money, better health. When we realize that it's the giver who makes the call and not the receiver, we've come a long way in understanding how God rewards His people.

From the Moody Church in Chicago, this is Running to Win with Dr. Erwin Lutzer, whose clear teaching helps us make it across the finish line. Pastor Lutzer, equality is an American ideal, but God seems to have a higher purpose than fulfilling our need to feel equal. Well, Dave, I can't think of a word that is more misused in our society than the word equality. We have marriage equality. We have reproductive equality. We have income equality. But at the same time, we have to recognize that we are equal in the sense that we are all equally valuable before God having been created in His image. But that being said, you're absolutely right, Dave. Life isn't fair.

How do we handle it? That's why I think that this parable is so very important for all of us. And to those of you who are blessed as a result of this ministry, I want you to know that we are encouraging you to become an endurance partner. That's someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. For more information, you can go to

When you're there, click on the endurance partner button or call us at 1-888-218-9337. Now let us listen to the words of Jesus who helps us to understand how to manage unfairness. Don't say, Lord, if you give me this job, I promise you I'm going to start to tithe. Or Lord, I promise you, I'm willing to go to Africa as a missionary if you give me a husband first. Now, you might want to also point out that if you think that way, he's going to have to agree to go too, I would think. Don't get into this business of saying, God, if you do this, I'll do this. If you reward me in this way, I promise I'm going to reward you in that way.

No, no, no, no. Come in faith believing that God will be generous and serve him wholeheartedly. There's a friend of mine who actually taught me preaching, a preaching class at Dallas Seminary. His name is Haddon Robinson. And he had a son by the name of Torrey.

And he likes to tell this story. One day, Torrey, when he was a boy, mowed the lawn in Texas, the hot Texas sun. And he came in and said, Dad, he said, I have mowed the lawn, which is to say, being interpreted, pay me. So his father said to him, well, Torrey, how much do you think it's worth?

He said, oh, I don't know. And the father's trying to get the son to name a price, and he won't. Finally, he said to him, why don't you give a price as to what you think it is worth for you to mow the lawn?

And then the boy said this, Dad, I would rather have you make the decision because I know you'll give me more than I ask for. God is generous. Don't bargain with him before you go into the vineyard. Don't be a legalist and say, well, God, if I do this, then you owe me that. Just serve him in faith, and he will do right by you, I can assure you. There's a second lesson that we must learn.

Yeah, thank you. And that is we must serve him in submission. It's very important now, and this gets to our hearts.

Sin is going to be revealed in your heart very shortly, so get ready for it, all right? Serve in submission without envy. Serve in submission without envy. Now, you'll notice here that the folks who showed up at six o'clock, they were envious because the ones who showed up at five got the same as they did. And there's nothing that elicits envy in our heart more than the feeling that we are being treated unfairly and seeing somebody else being blessed more than we think they should be blessed.

If you know anybody who is being over blessed and you seem to be under blessed, then immediately envy comes into our hearts. Dr. Charles Ryrie, who is the author of the notes in the Ryrie Study Bible, tells this story. He says one day he was on American Airlines and he had purchased a coach seat, but because of overbooking, they asked some people from the coach section of the plane to go into first class, but he was not among them.

And so as he was stewing there in his theological juices, I guess, being a theologian and knowing his Bible and having it with him, he turned to this parable and read it, and this is the way in which he read it. Friend, verse 13, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a coach seat? Did you not get a coach seat? And if I choose to bless somebody else, is American Airlines not allowed to do as it wills with those who are its own?

If American Airlines wants to take somebody out of coach seats and give them first class treatment, is your eye envious because American Airlines is generous? Wow. Rebecca and I have seven beautiful grandchildren and an eighth on the way, by the way. And when our oldest son, Jack, was about five years old, grandpa and grandma Lutzer took him to a store. We used their van, his parents' van, and we went to a store and we bought him, now he's four or five years old, a little car that he could actually sit in and drive had battery operated, et cetera.

You can move it along the sidewalk. He just needed to press a button and this car went, little fire engine. Boy, would I have liked that if I had been, had received one of those when I was younger. Of course, that was even before they had steel and metal, but we took him along because we wanted to make sure that he could sit in it and that it was the right size and all. I still remember, I seldom remember these things, but I think it caused $230.

Some things you do remember. So after we put it in the van and we're on our way home and of course he's absolutely elated, we stop at a dollar store because his little sister Emma was going to have a birthday party that evening, one-year-old birthday party. So Rebecca, of course, buys her a few balloons and ties one around her little chubby hand and so little Emma has a balloon. Jack, I want that balloon. I want that balloon. Give me this balloon. Give me the, I was thinking, Jack, we just spent $230 for your little car with an electric motor painted red that you can drive on a sidewalk and now you're bent out of shape because your little sister has a balloon.

And then I thought, by the way, I told a friend of mine that story and he said my grandson actually broke his sister's balloon. And you know, that's a picture of us all. God gives us multiple blessings. He who spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not also with him freely give us all things? We have forgiveness of sins. We have the status of being sons and daughters of the most high. We have an inheritance that is waiting for us. We have his mercy that we can depend upon and his providence that guides us. We've got all that and then we see somebody else over here who has a couple of balloons that we don't have. And immediately envy begins to rise in our hearts and say, why does God do it for them?

It just isn't fair because we're overcome by envy. The second word that I'm giving to you today is the word submit. Faith, submit without envy. There's a story about a man who had a dream. He was standing in a long line of people and Jesus came along and blessed, this person said, I bless you. I bless you. I bless you. And when Jesus came to him, he said, I'm not going to bless you because I know that you're going to keep on believing and trusting me anyway.

And then Jesus went to the next person. Do you feel that way? Let me ask you honestly, and this is a sin that you need to deal with and that I need to deal with. Are you envious when God is generous? When God in his sovereignty blesses some people more than he blesses you so that your ministry isn't as great, your house isn't as nice, your job isn't as easy. Are you envious because God is generous?

By the way, speaking of it from the other side, isn't it amazing that when we are blessed, we handle that very well. One day I was on a flight with my daughter to a funeral and it was United Airlines that had oversold. And so they took us. I always only buy coach seat tickets, but they took us who were in coach and they brought my daughter and me into first class. I didn't send an email to United and say, what kind of a schlocky outfit do you run anyway? Here I buy, I buy a coach ticket and you give me first class treatment.

No, that's not what I thought at all. First thought that came to mind was it's about time. When we're on the receiving end of blessing, you know, we're just fine with God and with everybody else. But if we discern it is unfair, we are consumed with envy. There's a final word I want to give you and that is thanksgiving or joy.

You can put whichever one you want in there. Rather than grumbling, thanksgiving and joy rather than grumbling. And here's why I think that this maybe gets to the heart of the parable. What Jesus wants to show here is that the rewards that he gives us are not wages. Oh, for the legalists, maybe they'll get their denarius, but for the others who serve with joy and submission, it isn't a matter of wages. He is going to give you so much beyond all wages that you won't even think in terms of wages. It's not a matter of saying, oh, 30 years of service, 30 crowns.

No, no, no, no. It is so much above and beyond that that you can't even think. Look at what Jesus said earlier to Peter. He says, everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for my sake will receive a hundred fold and will inherit a place in the kingdom.

That isn't wage. That is just God's undeserved generosity towards people who don't deserve anything like that. Because God says, I love to give and I'm generous if you trust me, if you submit to me, if you take your situation with gratitude and joy for any opportunity to serve in the kingdom, any opportunity. And I'd like to relate that to Moody Church and say that we always stand in need of volunteers and we never have enough volunteers.

And we have opportunities in our kiosk for you to find out exactly how you can be involved and so forth. But the point is that it is not a matter of whether it's prominent or whether you even get thanked for it or whatever. At the end of the day, it's a privilege to just put your foot into the vineyard and to serve the Lord. And it's a great honor to do anything in the vineyard and then to know that as a result of it, don't bargain with God and say, well, I need this denarius.

Oh, no, no, no, no. You don't bargain with God and he'll give you things that you can't even imagine to over bless you and over quote reward you because the point of the parable is the generosity of God giving to those who serve well, who trust well, much more than they could ever possibly deserve. Some of you are here today and you've never trusted Christ as Savior, by the way. So I need to point out that it's not a matter of you serving in the kingdom that brings salvation. This has to do with rewards for believers within the kingdom. You come to Christ as you are with your need and you trust him as your Savior.

And that is a free gift. It doesn't come about by service. But after you've trusted Christ, service should be the natural response of a gratitude, of a heart of gratitude where we serve. How do we serve?

In faith, in submission, and with joy and gratitude, trusting God to do right by us and believing he will and believe me, he will do right by you above and beyond. It's an old story that's been told in various versions, but it fits so well here I must tell it again. There was a missionary couple by the name of the Morrisons who were missionaries in far-flung lands.

I think it was Africa. And they came to America on the same ship as Roosevelt, the president, when he went overseas, obviously many, many years ago. When the ship arrived in New York, there was, of course, as we might expect, a delegation to meet Roosevelt, the president of the United States. You'd have security officials. You'd have welcoming committees and all those other things, all this hubbub because the president of the United States arrived in New York. The problem with the Morrisons was that there was nobody there to greet them. I have two sisters, both of whom were missionaries, one in Mexico for about 30 years and one single sister in Africa for 30 years.

And she knows a little bit about what that's like. Of course, we greeted her when she came to our part, but she would land here in America somewhere or Canada, and there'd be nobody there to greet her, at least initially. But anyway, the Morrisons thought to themselves, this doesn't seem right. Yes, of course, he's the president of the United States, but we are serving the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and the God of all gods, and we arrive at the New York Harbor and there's nobody even there to meet us, nothing but emptiness, nobody to even say howdy. But as they wrestled with this and even told the Lord how they felt about it, as they said to the Lord, you know, Roosevelt comes home, there's a big delegation for him, we come home, nobody here for us. It was as if the Lord said, wait a moment, you're not home yet.

Wait till you get home. You leave father and mother and houses and land for my sake and the kingdom and you serve well in the vineyard, you'll receive a hundredfold because God is generous, and don't you ever be envious because He's more generous with some people than with others. Does He not have a right to do as He wills with those who are His own?

Can you thank God right now for your situation? And so Jesus said, the last will be first, the first last. Legalists who say, what's in it for me and exactly what am I going to get out of it? Yeah, yeah, you'll get something. You'll get wages. Those who serve with submission and faith and joy, they won't get wages, they'll get rewards, totally disproportionate to what they've done. Let's bow together in prayer. Father, we want to pray today that you might make us satisfied with our lot in life. Oh yes, we can improve our situation most assuredly, but at the end of the day, in all of the unfairness of life, help us to rejoice that we have some part in your kingdom, whether small or large, whether recognized or unrecognized. May we rejoice in just knowing that we have a foot in your kingdom to serve you and love you. Help us to be satisfied with your decisions and not be envious because you are generous. Root that sin that is so deeply embedded in our hearts, root it out so that we can grab hold of it and confess it and forsake it, we pray in Jesus' name.

Amen. Well, this is Pastor Luther. I have to tell you that someone said that the sin of envy is actually a respectable sin. We all struggle with it and because it is inside of us, we feel so self-righteous and justified because of envy.

But God sees our hearts. You know, I have to share with you some joy that is in my heart. The ministry of Running to Win is heard throughout the country of Nigeria, 200 million people in Nigeria. And of course, it is because of people like you that we can continue to share the gospel in so many different ways.

Would you consider becoming an endurance partner? By the way, I have a letter here from a listener in Africa. My faith is always lifted up when I hear Running to Win. Even when I feel down, I'm always encouraged. We receive letters like that because of people like you who invest in this ministry.

An endurance partner is someone who stands with us regularly with their prayers and their gifts. Investigate it. Here's what you can do. Go to

That's When you're there, click on the endurance partner button, or if you prefer, you can call us at 1-888-218-9337. I'm going to be giving you that phone number again, but thanks in advance for helping us. Thank you so much for praying for us because together we are making a difference.

Call 1-888-218-9337. And now for another chance for you to ask Pastor Lutzer a question about the Bible or the Christian life. Something Pastor Lutzer has said prompted one of our listeners to ask this question. Explain your belief in ghosts. Have you ever seen one? Well the answer is I've never seen a ghost directly, but I've seen pictures of one.

Very serious about this. One of our listeners lives in a haunted house, and they went around taking photographs because things were happening in the house that clearly were not done by human beings. Lights were being turned off or on, the heating arrangement was being turned up or down, and so they began to take pictures and lo and behold when the pictures were developed, there are faces that can be seen in closets and rooms.

Never seen it before. So what did I recommend to these people? I recommended that they get a group of people together from their church, that they cleanse the place, so to speak. That they ask Jesus by his power to cleanse every single room that those spirits might leave, because after all they are evil spirits.

There's no such thing as Casper a friendly ghost. Even though these beings might not harm Christians because Christians are protected, the fact of the matter is they do exist. Sometimes what happens is when an evil person is into the occult, particularly when they are in the occult, and they live in a home, some of the spirits associated with that occultism may stay within the home. And that's why indeed we do have haunted houses, and haunted houses are full of ghosts who are demons. Thankfully as believers we have authority over them, the victory of Jesus Christ, the victory of the word.

I do believe that houses have to be cleansed, and I trust that you have the faith to believe that as well. Some interesting words of counsel from Dr. Erwin Lutzer. Thank you, Pastor Lutzer. If you'd like to hear your question answered, go to our website at and click on Ask Pastor Lutzer, or call us at 1-888-218-9337. That's 1-888-218-9337.

You can write to us at Running to Win, 1635 North LaSalle Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60614. Many people don't believe in demons, but Jesus certainly did. He drove many demons out of people, freeing them from self-destruction. There is a spirit realm marked by conflict between the powers of darkness and the powers of light. Next time on Running to Win, some lessons from the master teacher on how to fight this battle. Don't miss Getting Spiritual Warfare Right. Thanks for listening. For Dr. Erwin Lutzer, this is Dave McAllister. Running to Win is sponsored by the Moody Church.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-14 15:37:04 / 2023-09-14 15:45:29 / 8

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