March 11, 2021 –
In Philippians, St. Paul writes, “l press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). Paul lived a lifestyle that he knew would reward him with a home in heaven and a forever presence with Christ Jesus. The Apostle also informed the believers in Corinth,” Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Cor. 9:24)
As believers, we believe there are rewards for service in this present life. We recognize we cannot buy these rewards—Christ gives them for service done in his name. In this matter of rewards, we must not overlook what may be apparent. Sometimes we must think more deeply about what we believe and our role in His plan.
In the Old Testament, the story is told of Jacob and his wrestling with God* and prevailing. He refused to let go of God until God blessed (rewarded him) him. God blessed the 97-year-old Jacob. He changed his name from Jacob to Israel, for he had striven with God.
Through his perseverance (hanging on), Jacob’s received the blessing, but the Bible says that Jacob crossed over Peniel as the sun rose, and he was limping on his thigh. God rewarded Jacob, but Jacob paid the price. Jacob’s thigh’s socket was dislocated in his encounter with God, and Jacob most likely limped for the rest of his life.
Compare this Old Testament story of Jacob’s wrestling with God and his dislocated hip with Paul’s words in the New Testament. “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times l pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'”