for i am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  i have fought the good fight, i have finished the race, i have kept the faith.  henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. [2 timothy 4:6–8]
my favorite part of attending weddings is watching the groom when the bride comes in and walks down the aisle. there’s so much emotion on his face. smiles, laughter, tears, joy, awe. all at the same time. it’s pretty amazing to watch. anyone that looks at a groom’s face in that moment would instantly know that he is looking at something (someone) that means the world to him. something that is magnificent. something beautiful. something he loves. as much as you might want, you can’t stare at the groom forever. the joy in his face makes you want to look at what he’s looking at. the groom is drawing attention to and magnifying the beauty of the bride.
paul tells timothy that he is a drink offering – essentially saying he has poured out his life. he fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith. why would he do this? why did he fight the fight? run the race? keep the faith? why did he do these things? all of these things draw attention to Jesus and magnify the glory of God. it’s possible to look at these verses and think that paul did these things to draw attention to Jesus so that Jesus would give him the crown. so that once paul finished the race that he could sit back, having “arrived”, and soak in the glory of his accomplishments. basically saying, “during my life i made a big deal about you Jesus, now you can make a big deal about me in eternity.”
it’s true that there will be an eternal reward for believers after we die. the Lord will award us a crown of righteousness. but there’s no shift from God glorifying to self glorifying once we enter heaven.
and whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to him who is seated on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who is seated on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. they cast their crowns before the throne, saying,
“worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” [revelation 4:9–11]
don’t get caught up in the fact that this verse is from revelation and who are the elders and who are the living creatures and all that stuff. the point of this passage is to show us that even in heaven everyone in the presence of God will worship him because he is worthy! take a look at what they are doing with their crowns…throwing them at the feet of Jesus! even in heaven and on the new earth we will be praising and glorifying God forever.
today you can ask this question of yourself…am i running the race because i’m looking forward to the glory i’ll receive when the race is over? am i making much of Jesus now so that i can be made much of later? i would argue that if you are then you aren’t really wanting to make much of Jesus now either.
i said earlier that everyone in the presence of God in heaven will worship him because he is worthy. we have the opportunity now to be in the presence of God. ask him to reveal his worthiness to you. to remind you of his glory, power, grace, and mercy. and then go, and make much of Jesus because he is worthy of it!
~ keith kozlowski