Every once in a while I come across someone saying something along the lines that we should love God so much that we would honor and serve Him even if there were no reward involved and we got nothing out of it. The basic argument essentially ends with the idea that if we really love God, we won’t care much about the reward of Heaven He offers. That will simply be a bonus top of everything else.
I have to say I don’t find this concept anywhere in the Bible.
In Hebrews 11 the writer states of the Old Testament patriarchs,
These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland. And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return. But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.
In John 14, Jesus, tells people to store up treasures in Heaven rather than earth, then during the Last Supper promises the Apostles mansions in His Father’s house. In Romans 8 Paul writes about the hope we (and creation!) have in being free from corruption. Revelation is filled with talking about the rewards God showers upon His people who remained faithful to the end.
I bring all this up to say this: if God Himself does not expect us to give ourselves over to Him for nothing, who are we to argue and disagree with that?
God has given us every chance and opportunity to be His special people. He sent Jesus His Son to die and be raised again so we could know His love for us and be set free from the power of sin and death. He makes all who put their faith in Christ and follow His path children of the Most High King. And then He goes another step and offers eternal rewards and treasures that far surpass anything we could possibly hope for in this present life.
In I Corinthians Paul through the Holy Spirit writes not to run for nothing, but to “run in such a way that you may obtain the prize.” It is a good thing to desire and chase after the promises of God. Desiring the reward God offers does not lessen our love for God, but shows that we want what God wants to give. It is a recognition that God’s promises are far greater than anything we could achieve in this life.
So let us, as God’s people, love our Father in Heaven, and chase after what He wants us to want – eternal life in perfect fellowship with Him, and all the good rewards He offers to His people.