The great hope of all Christian labor and perseverance is that one day every knee will bow before our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the king of the universe and the rightful ruler of the world. If I didn’t believe this — and if God wasn’t faithful to remind me of it often — I would honestly give up. I would give up right now.
Anything less than eternal, world-wide, universal, face-to-the-ground acknowledgement of Christ as the grand, supreme Lord of all is not worth the toil of Christian service. If your motivation sinks below this high-as-the-heavens standard, I can guarantee that you will soon begin to suffer painful disillusionment and lingering discouragement.
You can work 18-hour days doing kingdom work — “night and day,” as Paul said — and you can do it out of a concrete conviction that it’s right and biblical, but if you do not have the guarantee that a day is coming when the glory of God will cover the earth like the water fills the sea, your spirit will soon expire beneath the suffocating weight of exhausting earthly realities.
Even if I were the pastor of a 20,000-member church that taught and obeyed the Bible, enjoyed biblical fellowship, supported suffering saints, stood firm for the truth in the winds of doctrinal compromise, cared nothing about the values of the world, showed compassion towards outcasts, and gave 50% of its budget to world missions, I would still look out at the dark, needy idolatry of the Muslim world and the plight of innumerable AIDS orphans in Africa and the audacity of Benny Hinn in deceiving desperate millions in India and the spinelessness of American Christianity when it comes to truth and I would simply despair.
Lived properly, the Christian life is simply too hard to bear without the promise of reward. To live as (and feel like) an alien and stranger in a foreign land your whole life is hard. To carry the burden of love for truth in the midst of an evil and adulterous generation is hard. To fight sin tooth and nail and still feel like you’re making no progress is hard. To love your enemies is hard. To swirl in mental confusion over where to ration your time and energy and resources because there is simply so much kingdom work to do is hard. To press on is hard. So hard that Paul said, “If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:19).
But there are no pity parties in the Christian life, because we are awaiting the great and glorious celebration of the king’s return. We will shine like the sun in the kingdom of our Father because of the bright love that has been rained down upon us from the beautiful and bloodied face of Christ. We will live forever in mansions of glory and endless delight, giving restful service to a joyful, overflowing God. We will lift our voices and clap our hands to Him who has forgiven all our sins and wiped away all our iniquities at the price of the only Son He had. And we will finally see King Jesus on His throne, ruling without end over a stunning new world where justice rules, harmony prevails, lions lie down with lambs, and tears and sorrow are wiped away.
There is coming a day when every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. On that day all wrongs will be made right and all weariness will be replaced with rest. And I can find no better reason — I can find no other reason — to get back up and persevere until that day.
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.” — Galatians 6:9