“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5)
Servants, as children and pets are, and in fact in may cases adults, are paid for being obedient, the payment is as varied as there are individuals. There is only one inverse for obedience, and that of course is disobedience, willful and knowledgeable, with intent, rebellion against the commandment given, perform the task placed before you and you will receive your wages, perform it above what is commanded of you, and you will receive additional compensation, a reward.
Children who are told to clean their room, and then by their own initiative also clean the bathroom are rewarded, paid above what was initially offered for just cleaning their room, bonuses at Christmas for going above and beyond, as stated, the list is nearly endless, but the reference stands true in every case, doing more receives rewards.
“So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Luke 17:10)
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matt. 25:21)
As servants of the Most High God we have been given clear and concise commandments we are to follow, and always out of a love for the Lord Jesus Christ, but the Word is true, if that is all you do then you are unprofitable. Initiative, the willing desire, a searching out for ways to serve at a greater level than what has been commanded of us will receive that additional compensation, the rewards. What one must be very careful of is performing those additional tasks solely for the purpose of receiving those rewards, for then we are seeking the glorification of the self, for vainglory, and thereby pride.
“And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.” (Matt. 5:41) Do more than what you have been told to do out of love for Him who gave all for you, with no concern for the rewards, or even the initial payment, if you will.
This concept, these truths can be difficult for many to comprehend, for they ride the balance of grace and works, and although they may understand that we are indeed saved by grace, they may not fully comprehend that that grace does not spill over, so to speak, to our sanctification, that in the process of the Holy Spirit transforming us, we must be willing participants. If a child understands that if they do not clean their room, they will not be fed that day, they will clean their room, but not out of love. If they take the extra step and also clean the bathroom, again out of love, they will receive more, but if they do so simply for the extra payment, it becomes a self-serving work.
There is no place in the Scriptures where those who have been crucified with Christ are commanded to meet each Sunday morning for a specified time, as far as I know, Hebrews 10:25 is in part what this is based on. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” A manmade construct which has become no more than an obligation to many. How can I prove this point?
Move your church service from Sunday morning to Tuesday morning and see how many people show up. The world’s obligations will inevitably override that supposed time of worship.
Commandments are obligations that we are instructed to perform, we are expected to accomplish them by the Lord. Feed the poor, take care of the widows and orphans, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15) Do these things and you will remain unprofitable; the Scriptures are clear. Does it matter the attitude of the child who cleans his room as he has been commanded to do? “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7)
Are these rewards for a willing heart, or for deeds done above and beyond what one has been instructed to do and then solely for the glory of God?
Servants do not perform any task that they have not been commanded to do, unless they are positive that it is in the will of their Master, that it will lift up His name, and they always do them with a willing heart. There is where the rewards come from. Fulfilling the obligations does not make one profitable, understanding Genesis 15:1, “After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.” will drive you to serve above and beyond, and always out of a love that can never fully be expressed.