“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful (Luke 6:27-36).
Our reward will be great, Jesus said, not when we love people who love us back, but when we love “the ungrateful and the evil” as God does. I use a marriage for this discussion, but I think you’ll get the point regardless.
If you are married to the godliest, kindest, most giving and thoughtful spouse who ever lived, that will be your reward. There will be no extra credit in the heavenlies for having enjoyed an easier marriage than most. So you’ll have some very pleasant decades, while someone else may be storing up for eternity.
If, for instance, your spouse takes you for granted, you may never be appreciated on this earth, but the day will come—Jesus promises it!—when you see your heavenly Father-in-Law face-to-face and He says to you, “You loved My son (or daughter) so well, even though I know he (or she) never understood how blessed he (or she) was to be married to you. Now, let Me show you how I spend all of eternity rewarding those who love in My name. Receive your rewards, enter into your rest!”
You see how believing in that day changes how we define what is a good day in the here and now? We’ll look for opportunities to love, serve, notice, encourage, and appreciate, instead of being obsessed with how well our spouses are loving, serving, noticing, encouraging, and appreciating us. This is encouraging for those of you who are taken for granted. Let’s be honest: some of us married fools. I don’t mean to be flippant, but the Bible says there are fools, right? It seems to me, somebody must marry them. Maybe you picked one. From an earthly perspective, that seems like a wasted life. From an eternal perspective, you have the opportunity to set yourself up for a particularly thrilling and fulfilling conversation at the judgment seat of Christ.
Continue to love, even when it’s hard. Don’t worry about what you get, just give into that life. Remember – For God so loved the world He GAVE… (John 3:16); so much so that WHILE we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8). God will see to it that you get what’s coming to you. That’s a gift that will last…forever!