When's Payday?

Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Luke 1:6-7 (NIV)

Ever have one of those jobs where you're always wondering, "When am I gonna get paid for this?" Ever have one of those jobs that feels like you're working harder than you're getting paid for? It's like you're constantly wondering, "When is all my hard work gonna pay off?"

Religion can be like that. Walking with God can be like that. There are a lot of things we do "for God" that don't seem to pay too well. You'd think if God really wanted us to be good people He'd reward us immediately! Ah, gave money to a homeless person? Here's a check in your mailbox doubling your gift! Went to church this week? Here are green lights for the next week of driving! Missed the game to go to church? Your team not only won, they're going to the Super Bowl!

Unfortunately experience shows us, it just doesn't work that way. (Harumph!) Ask Elizabeth and Zechariah. The Bible says they were "righteous in the sight of God," keeping God's commands "blamelessly." Wow! That's impressive! I mean, it's one thing to say that about yourself, but when God says it...wow!

And yet...they were childless. For some of us in today's culture we might say, "Lucky them!" But they wouldn't have. Back then it was an honor to have children and it was considered a curse of you didn't (couldn't).

Weird. Here were these two people that God considered righteous and blameless, and yet, they were still missing something. And thank goodness!

The Christmas story reminds us, when we're feeling like God doesn't see, has fallen asleep on the job, has forgotten our good deeds, just doesn't care, doesn't think our good deeds are good enough; God sees, and God rewards.

The Christmas story reminds us that people better than us (I wouldn't call myself righteous or blameless!) (and neither would anyone I know), waited longer than us; but it wasn't because God didn't see. He did see. He called them righteous. He saw their every move so He could say they followed His decrees and commandments blamelessly.

God sees. He sees you. He sees what you've done. How you've suffered. The cost you paid, and pay. The lengths you're willing to go to, and have gone to. How everyone else is getting ahead but because you're suffering for Him, for righteousness, seem to be falling behind. God sees. And He rewards.

The Christmas Story reminds us that the reward for faithfulness doesn't not always come immediately; not even to the best of us. But it comes. And better than we thought or wanted.

Zechariah and Elizabeth just wanted a child, and they got one...but they also got so much more! They were seen and chosen not just to have a child, but to play a part in the most amazing thing that's ever happened since the inception of reality, a piece in God's master plan to redeem humanity and reconcile it to Himself; a part in the Christmas story.

This Christmas, remember, the reward for faithfulness is not often immediate, but always worth it. God sees, and God rewards.