Obi-Wan Kenobi delivers a line in the final Star Wars movie (III) which has achieved some level of fame. It appears 8,270 times on the Web, including as the name of a blog.
Anakin has just informed him, “You’re either with me, or you’re my enemy!”
Obi-Wan replies with that now-famous line: “Only a Sith deals in absolutes!”
I love Anakin’s reply. He stops, cocks his head, smirks, and says, “Obi-Wan, are you absolutely sure?”
Ok, no, he didn’t really say that. I think that was Ravi Zacharias and D. A. Carson in chorus.
Such a saying, however, does reveal something about the melange of philosophy which has melted into Star Wars. Here’s another, a comment Qui-Gon Jinn makes to Anakin’s mother as they watch young Anakin serving others:
“He gives with no thought of reward.”
This line is a little harder for Christians to process than the first, I think. We Christians all know that truth is absolute, but it sounds nice when someone works for no reward.
But that idea is not Christian. It’s anti-Christian. Simply put, God offers rewards.
I didn’t say you could earn your salvation. I didn’t say that it’s up to you to muster up some spiritual strength or work up some grace or alter your will. That’s all God’s work. But Jesus says you should rejoice and be exceeding glad when people persecute you for His name’s sake—because great is your reward in heaven! I seriously doubt that God intends for you to forget about that reward while going through your trial. The reward is the reason (γαρ) for the joy you’re supposed to have during persecution!
And God offers other rewards:
ESV Ps 19:11 Moreover, by them [God's words] is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward.
ESV Pr 22:4 The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life.
ESV Heb 11:26 [Moses] considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
ESV 1Co 3:14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
ESV Gn 15:1 After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
The NIV and KJV render that last one with God telling Abram, “I am your shield, your very great reward.” Whichever rendering is correct, both are true. God is the ultimate reward for His children. Don’t deny yourself this reward. Sell all your possessions to get it, if necessary. Ask God for grace to want this reward, to never let it leave your mind and heart!