Does God want us to be motivated by his rewards?
For a very long time people have been singing of their great reward. And not only Americans.
The Hebrew book of worship, the Psalms, is prefaced by the following:
Blessed is the man
who walks not
In the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stands in the way of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water
That yields its fruit in its season,
And its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Here are 50 of my favorite lines of blessing in the hymns.
(Hymn numbers are from The Baptist Hymnal, 1991)
1. I want that wonder and victory, when Jesus I see (#4).
2. We are His folk, He doth us feed (#5).
3. I want that joy to fill my heart (#10).
4. He is my health and salvation (#14).
5. My desires are granted in what he ordaineth (#14).
6. He is the fount of every blessing (#15).
7. God is so good, He’s so good to me (#23)
8. All I have needed Thy hand hath provided (#54).
9 Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me (#54).
10. He is my inheritance, now and always (#60).
11. Early I seek His favor (#61).
12. My shepherd will supply my need (#68).
13. From sin and death He saves us and lightens every load (#78).
14. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found (#87).
15. Light and life to all He brings (#88).
16. His glory forever I’ll share (#141).
17. I will cling to the old rugged Cross and exchange it someday for a crown (#141).
18. When from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be (#143).
19. Ours the cross, the grave, the skies (#159).
20. He is my soul’s glory, joy, and crown (#176).
21. He guards me on my onward course, and brings me safe to heaven (#183).
22. With His manna He my hungry soul will fill (#189).
23. There is no more dying there (#192).
24. ’Tis life and health and peace (#216).
25. From Him all blessings flow (#253).
26. He has the wonderful words of life (#261).
27. His balm makes the wounded whole (#269).
28. He will let His blessing fall on me (#275).
29. My ransomed soul may rest beyond the river (#280).
30. This is the pathway of blessing for me (#282).
31. So that by the living Word of God I shall prevail (#335).
32. It’s the rivers of pleasure I see (#340).
33. He watches o’re His own (#405).
34. I want the white raiment (#413).
35. I want my name confessed in heaven (#413).
36. I heard about His healing, of His cleansing power revealing (#426).
37. I want the glory He sheds on our way (#447).
38. I’ll be satisfied as long as I walk close to Him (#448).
39. I need Him every hour (#450).
40. I want the showers of blessing (#467).
41. I want all these things to be added unto me (#478).
42. I want the crown of life (#485).
43. I want the prize before me (#514).
44. I want to tread the streets of gold (#514).
45. I want the fair and happy land where my possessions lie (#521).
46. I want the thousand sacred sweets on the hill of Zion (#524).
47. I want joy through the ages (#547).
48. He has all my hungering spirit needs (#550).
49. I want the mansion, the robe, and the crown (#555).
50. It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do (#572).
There is a clear lesson in the hymnody.
Christians of 100 or 200 years ago would not say: “Not that you should do it for the blessing.”
How freeing it is to realize that Scripture, reason, and much of Christian tradition do with one voice reject the death-sentence of the supposed ideal of “selflessness.”
The most beautiful lines of blessing are found in the old American folk and gospel song, “The Wayfaring Stranger.”
I’ll soon be free from earthly trials,
My body sleep in the old churchyard;
I’ll drop the cross of self-denial
And enter in my great reward.