Everyone likes to be rewarded now and then. A pat on the back for a job well done, receiving a prize at the end of a long competition, or taking that extra day off because you just know you earned it through all the extra hours you put into a major project.
There are several people I know who enjoy running. They have participated in 5 K runs, 10 K runs, and even full on marathons. One of the things they look forward to is receiving that medal at the end of the race that says “Hey! You did it!”
It’s true that being rewarded with a tangible, physical item is something to look forward to, but what about in the race of life?
Proverbs 31:31 says:
Give her the reward of her labor and let her works praise her at the city gates.
The woman of Proverbs 31 was receiving her reward day in and day out as she faithfully served her God and her family through her tireless efforts. But what exactly did that reward look like?
The basic definition “Rewarded” is compensation or something given for good works, service, or merit. The woman in this passage was compensated through her reputation at the ‘city gates’
In short, when her husband went to work, everyone knew who he was married to and the quality of work that she provided for the community. He was affirming her to the people in the community who were of high importance.
The question here is this: Who are the people closest to you and what are they saying about you in the public?
What are some of the ways that living out the principles found in the Proverbs 31 passage can bring rewards? Lets take a look.
We see the rewards this woman had for being a trustworthy wife and mother through the reactions of her husband. His heart trusted in her completely. He was confident in the woman he had married and knew that she had his best interest.
This applies to us today even if we aren’t married. This applies to the people who are closest to you. Can they trust you implicitly? Proverbs 31:25 reminds us that our actions are born out of our character. It is our job to walk in an upright manner so that we can be sure that God will provide his grace and thing things He deems are good. If I focus on the tasks I have been called to do and not worry about the things going on around me it is easy to life out this principle daily. (Psalm 84:11)
We learned when we talked about being energetic that this doesn’t necessarily mean that we are a basket full of energy and excitement all this time. Here we see that being energetic simply means using the skills we excel at to benefit our homes and our families, (Proverbs 31:24)
The reward here can be great. If we are using the talents we have and coupling them with our spiritual gifts we have the opportunity to not only serve the family we are in charge of but we can also serve the Lord in wonderful ways. If we focus our energies into the areas that we excel in we can be sure to avoid eating the fruit of slothfulness (Proverbs 19:15)
Being ‘physically fit’ is another area that is often misconstrued as being something that it’s not. In this context, being physically fit is knowing your personal limitations and having the ability to work at your maximum potential. Of course, if you strive to keep you body as a holy dwelling place for the Lord, a clean vessel, the benefits will be far more than you can imagine. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
The rewards of this principle are that you are able to enjoy the tasks placed before you because you know how to get things accomplished. And you are able to avoid the judgement of God because thing things you are doing are holy and pleasing to the Lord. (Isaiah 3:16-26)
Here we are able to see true, tangible rewards. We we learn to live within our budget and we see the appropriate place and value of our money we can benefit from it working FOR us rather than it working AGAINST us. When we are able to embrace a spiritual attitude toward our finances it is easy to know where to store up our treasures. (1 Timothy 6:6-8) When we have a strong foundation for our economical principle to be rooted in we are able to provide for our family the best quality products, at the best price, with no reason for guilt, doubt, or shame at the end of the day (Proverbs 31:18)
We all want to be known as unselfish, but what are the rewards to living such a lifestyle? For starters when we learn to be generous and unselfish we can know that we are not only serving our fellow man but we are ultimately lending to the Lord. (Proverbs 19:17) And while we may not see the rewards on this side of heaven, we can be like Dorcas, who was deeply loved and missed at the time of her passing because of the generous, unselfish heart and spirit that she possessed. She made it her mission to provide for those in the community and her loss was felt deeply. (Acts 9:36-41)
To be prepared means we are ready and excited for the tasks God has placed before us. (Jeremiah 17:7-8) We are not easily frustrated or filled with regret. (Matthew 25:21,23) And our reward is to be a role model and an example for those who are also striving to live a life of this magnitude, which means that we can be patient as we teach and train others to fulfill their service to the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11;1)
When we choose to live an honorable life we can be confident that we are walking in a life of fulfillment. (2 Corinthians 9:6) While the world may be telling us we will be lacking we can know that it is through these honorable actions that we are going to be reaping the true rewards in the form of blessings from heaven. And as we interact with others we will see the observable changes in the lives of those we have had the privilege to affirm. (Psalm 119:11)
How we communicate is often more important than what we are actually communicating. It is easy to say the right thing the wrong way, or the wrong thing and even worse way. However, when we learn to be prudent with our tongue one of the rewards is that people will confide in your. This principle ties directly into the principle of being trustworthy. (Proverbs 15:1-2) People will also seek out your advice and be thankful for that advice once they receive it.
Being lovable and being loved begins with a strong vibrant relationship with the Lord. The closer you draw to Him the stronger the lovable characteristics come to the forefront. In turn the people in your life will come to grow in their love and respect for you. This then leads you to be an open and valuable mentor and example to younger women in your life. (Titus 2:3-5)
Living out the principle of being ‘God-fearing’ will provide you with a bright, vibrant life with the Lord. It opens up the doors and pathways for you to become a positive role model for others on their walk with God. The true reward will come once we get to heaven and we are counted as the good and the faithful servant of the Lord. (Matthew 25:21) And through our relationships we are able to learn and grow when we come into them with the right mindset and heart-attitude.