Will We Receive Crowns in Heaven?

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Jesus said, “Your Father, who sees what is done is secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:6

Have you ever heard this expression: “The reward of a job well done is a job well done”?[1] One elementary schoolteacher used that adage when I completed a task or a project, then sent me back to my desk to start a new assignment—not a fully satisfying reward for a child.

Perhaps those schoolroom experiences shaped my attitude toward the praise the wise servants received in the parable of the talents: “Well done, good and faithful servant!” their master said (Matthew 25:21, 23). Did the verbal affirmation make their hard work worth the effort?

Some people believe Jesus will give a similar affirmation to his faithful servants in heaven. Receiving our Savior’s approval may be all the reward we need, but several Scripture passages suggest that Christians will also receive rewards identified as crowns.

The apostle Paul speaks of an incorruptible crown: “Everyone who competes in [athletic] games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever” (1 Corinthians 9:25). Elsewhere, specific crowns are named: the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:8), the crown of life (James 1:12), and the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4).

Some scholars believe the use of crown in these passages is figurative and refers to permanent righteousness, eternal life, and the glory of dwelling in God’s presence.

But other passages imply there may be literal crowns. To the church in the ancient Asian city of Philadelphia, Jesus said, “I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown” (Revelation 3:11). And the apostle John saw people laying their crowns at Jesus’s feet in heaven (Revelation 4: 4, 10).

Scripture doesn’t answer all my questions about heavenly crowns. But I’m certain of this: whatever crowns await us in heaven, they will be “immeasurably more” wonderful than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20) and far more satisfying than any other gift we’ve ever received.

Are you living on earth in such a way that you will receive crowns in heaven?

Dig Deeper

Consider what Jesus said about rewards in Matthew 6:1–6, 16–18 and Matthew 10:41–42. Do you think he was talking about rewards on earth or in heaven? Why?

Read 2 Corinthians 4:8–18. What unseen, eternal things do you think Paul was looking forward to? Do you share his perspective on “light and momentary troubles”? How so?

What do the following passages imply about rewards in heaven? Matthew 16:27, 1 Corinthians 3:12–15, Ephesians 6:8, and Colossians 3:24.

For more on rewards, read Does God See Everything We Do?

Denise K. Loock

This devotion is part of our series on Heaven.

[1] This adage may have originated in an essay written by Ralph Waldo Emerson. In “New England Reformers” he wrote, “The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.” (Essays: Second Series, 1844).

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