This week I celebrate six years in my current job as a hotel manager. This past year has been the busiest of all six. I have put so much of myself into my hotel, longing for success and wanting to honor God with the way in which I work. This last month we received a ‘hotel of the year’ award for 2017 that was one of the biggest honors that you can receive in my industry.
Often times over the past year, I was frustrated and tired. There were many days that I was not sure how I was going to make it through the day with all that we had going on. I would often times leave at night without getting everything accomplished that needed to be completed. I would get home and continue to think about all that needed to be done, and the to do list continued to pile on.
Throughout the year, however, we were beginning to accomplish the goals that we had set out for our team. We continued to work toward our mission of “being better tomorrow than we are today.” We started to see the culture that we desired to create start coming into fruition. With this recognition it shows that all of our hard work paid off and we genuinely felt vindicated for our effort.
Reflecting back, it all seems worth the effort.
As I’ve had a couple of weeks to contemplate our accomplishment, I have thought about how frequently we feel the same way in our walk with the Lord. We do what we know is right, serve in our church, serve in our neighborhoods and communities, love difficult people, forgive those that hurt us, spend time studying God’s word, wake up early to pray, give of our financial resources to help others, and so many other things, that often times leave us wondering if it’s all worth it. Many things that we do for the Kingdom, we never get to see the fruit of our labor. I know times in my life that I have wondered how I was going to make it through the day without totally blowing up.
This led me to what Paul said in Romans 8:18 (ESV):
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
I do believe that we as followers of Christ experience joy and peace on this earth that is part of the Life that God has granted us. However, I believe that if you search scripture you will see that following Jesus means that life on earth will not be easy.
Matthew 10 says “You will be hated by all because of me.”
Mark 13 says “Everyone will hate you because of me.”
John 15 says “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
As this has become real to me, I have seen that following Jesus has led me to points of exhaustion, and to times that have questioned if it’s really worth it.
I could spend the next fifty pages quoting scripture about how amazing Heaven will be, but instead I want you to think about February 21st of this year. That was the day that Billy Graham, one of the great heroes of our modern day faith, took his last breath on earth. Can you imagine the celebration in Heaven? Think for yourself of all of the passages of scripture that you know about what happens after death, and imagine what it was like for this man. I cannot imagine the validation of the life that he lived for Christ, as he took Billy in his arms and welcomed him home.
I obviously do not compare my Christian walk with that of Billy Graham, but I do know that what he experienced that day in February is the same experience that I have awaiting me whenever my final breath on earth is taken.
As I think about the validation that I have received from an earthly reward, I know that it doesn’t even compare to what it will be like to see Jesus in all of his Glory. I am certain that if I am able to look back that I will not regret a moment that I chose to follow Jesus even when it is hard. I encourage you today with the words of Paul to the church at Philippi:
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worth of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel.”
May you all know that what you do for our Lord is not in vain.