As he neared the end of his life, Paul offered this statement of past-reflection and future-hope:
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:7-8
What’s your biggest take-away from that?
I can tell you that many people read that and immediately say “Oh boy I can’t wait till I get my crown!” Let me tell you something, the crown Paul was talking about–the crown that he was soon to put on and which we Christians will receive at the end of our days–doesn’t look like this:
Don’t be so worldly! Why should we, servants in the house of God, expect to receive a sparkling, gem-studded crown? No, no: The crown that Paul was talking about looked like this:
That’s the crown given to the winners of the Olympic Games. Those who won their fight or who finished their race were rewarded with a victory crown. It was a wreath that symbolized “This one is victorious.” That’s our crown, and what a splendid one it is! But for some, who have silver and gold on their minds, that crown might be too modest and un-spectacular. Alright, then let me remind you of the crown your Master and King wore:
He wore that crown, not one of gold. He wore that crown…so you wouldn’t have to.