...his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. —1 Corinthians 3:13-14
Not just apostles, not just ministers, not just deacons, but the totality of the body of Christ shall be judged: every person shall receive his own reward according to his own labor. Every man, every woman, every function, every gift, every talent, all we ever did will be projected on God's gigantic screen. Even that time you got hurt and kept quiet about it. Those years you paid your tithes and it hurt, but you kept quiet about it; those moments when you dignified the trial but kept quiet about it; that person you totally forgave, but you kept quiet about it; or the one you stayed up all night and helped but kept quiet about it. Each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
When will this happen? And what does each will be rewarded mean? This refers to the future, and perhaps this disappoints you. We all want to be paid now! Yet every man will receive. We may wish it had said, "Every man receives his own reward" in the present tense. That way I am guaranteed recognition now; that way I am guaranteed dividends now. But must we get our pay today?
Do you only get involved in a particular activity of the church if you think it is working? Do you do something because immediately you get results? God can, and often does, bless obedience now, but our motive may betray that we cannot wait for the judgment seat of Christ. How much better that you continually remember that you will yet stand before God and give an account of the things you did throughout life. It will be worth it all to hear two words from Jesus: "Well done." What I did in life that was swallowed up and unnoticed will be found out and blazed in headlines and discovered then.
Excerpted from When God Says "Well Done!" (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).