They lay their crowns before the throne and say: "You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power." —Revelation 4:10-11
God wants us to know that He takes notice of everything we do. We are made in such manner as to want recognition and approval. Dale Carnegie, author of the classic best seller How to Win Friends and Influence People, states that the strongest urge in the world that people are born with is the desire to feel important. God made us that way. For those who say, "I don't need a reward to do what God tells me to do," I just hope they are not being a bit smug and self-righteous. It is as if they are saying, "I love God so much I would work for Him without any glory whatsoever." Good. And that is the way we are to be here below. The problem with the Pharisees was that all they did was to be seen by people (Matt. 23:5), but Jesus put forward the proposition that we should abandon the honor that comes from one another and seek to obtain the honor that comes from God (John 5:44). That is a motivation for how we can be honored—by God Himself, but in His way and in His time. And most certainly at the judgment seat of Christ.
Some will no doubt say, "I don't care whether I receive a reward at the judgment; I will be happy enough just to make it to heaven." I do understand that, but that is certainly not the way you will feel when you actually have to stand before Jesus the Righteous Judge. You will wish beyond the ability to imagine with all your heart that you might receive His "Well done." It would be the most awful feeling to be passed by when others were being so blessed.
Not only that, if I understand the meaning of Jesus having many crowns (Rev. 19:12)—plus the theology of some of our greatest hymns—where do you think those crowns come from?
The crowns on Jesus' head are our crowns. They are the crowns given as a reward at the judgment seat of Christ.
We will never—ever—be able to thank God enough for saving us and giving us a home in heaven. But one thing that will be given to us—that will help us show our gratitude—is that we get to take off our crowns and give them to Jesus.
Excerpted from Pure Joy (Charisma House, 2006).