Is Christianity worth it? What are the benefits of Christianity? Apart from the promise of eternal life at the end, what good will it do me? How will it help me here and now? To put it more popularly, is it all “pie in the sky when you die” or is there also “steak on the plate while you wait?”

If people think that Christianity is all and only about future reward in heaven, it will have the following results:

  • Dangerous delay: People will delay faith as long as they can and then sign up for their heavenly insurance policy just before the end.
  • Half-hearts: People will not pursue Christ or holiness with vigor because there’s no immediate advantage in it.
  • Gritted teeth: Christians adopt a “grin and bear it” approach to the Christian life. We just have to put up with present losses in the hope of eventual heavenly gain.
  • Cold legalism: We instruct our children to do things merely because they are commanded, which runs the risk of legalism.
  • Spiritual Blindness: We don’t see the glory and beauty of Christian ethics, but just bare commands.

The question then is, can we add motivation to our morals? Morals are about what we should do or not do; motivation is about the why. Morals are the rules; motivations are the rewards.

The good news is that God has attached motives to his morals to stimulate and empower obedience. In other words, Christianity is worth it, not only for future rewards but because of present rewards.

We shouldn’t be surprised at this because motivational science has found that unless there is some present reward it’s very hard to keep going at anything. God knew that before they did (e.g. Exodus 19:5-6; 20:12).

For more, see my sermon notes from my fourth sermon in the Proverbs series entitled Wisdom University (download pdf here).  Scroll down a bit further and you’ll find a one-page sermon summary infographic. Index to previous sermons in the series here.

Sermon Notes

Proverbs 2-1


Proverbs 2-2