Many games we humans play involve keeping score. Our sport activities such as hockey, baseball, basketball, and football often have an official scorekeeper to track the points.
Our family enjoys many card games such as cribbage, bridge, hearts, or whist—all of which require keeping score. Another dynamic game that we all seem to enjoy is Scrabble. There, too, the score must be carefully kept. We usually choose somebody who is quick with numbers and good at being meticulous. My youngest grandson is a ferocious Scrabble player and, although we don’t let him be the scorekeeper, he really knows how to add up the numbers on each word and is very hard to beat.
There are other ways in which “keeping score” is understood. In criminal activities or even in our interactions with one another, we often remember favors that others do for us—or we for them—and keep “score” as to whether or not they are repaid. We keep “score” of all the hurts and insults that are thrown at us, and we keep “score” of the nice things people say and do. Somehow, we have the need to “settle the score” by repaying some of the favors or by seeking revenge (justice) against those who hurt us.
In the Wild West, people kept “score” by cutting notches on their pistol handles or by gathering scalps. Airplane fighters in WWI and WWII kept score of the “kills” they had in various ways. There are other ways in which an ordinary, unconverted human keeps score. Did you know that God is also a scorekeeper? The concept has always existed.
Jesus stated something very encouraging as recorded in Matthew 10:42 Matthew 10:42And whoever shall give to drink to one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, truly I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
American King James Version×: “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward.” It seems Jesus is keeping score of the good deeds we do here on earth.” Those deeds need to be done from the heart and without the hope of a reward, but God does plan to reward those who serve Him in sincerity and truth.
Reward for good deeds
Matthew 5 and 6 mention a reward quite often. In Matthew 5:11-12 Matthew 5:11-12  Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
American King James Version×, Jesus said that there was a reward in heaven (that is where God resides and keeps score). Matthew 6:1-4 Matthew 6:1-4  Take heed that you do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise you have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.  Therefore when you do your alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Truly I say to you, They have their reward.  But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand does:  That your alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret himself shall reward you openly.
American King James Version×cautions us not to do our good deeds so that others will see, and so God can one day give us a reward. Verses 5 and 6 even tell us there is a reward for praying correctly. That is more than the peace of mind that prayer gives us; it is something reserved to a future time where God will be giving out rewards.
Jesus said that He will come in the glory of His Father and will reward each according to their works. It is clear that God sees what we do on this earth and that He is keeping score so that He can reward each person in a manner suitable to what they have done. Luke 6:35 Luke 6:35But love you your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil.
American King James Version×, 38 mention that the reward will be great and it will be dependent upon the same measure we have used.
Paul noted that God is rewarding all who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6 Hebrews 11:6But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
American King James Version×). It seems God loves to give gifts and blessings here during this life, but also rewards or gifts that will last for eternity. It is hard for us to realize just how carefully and closely we are being observed. Every hair on our head is numbered (Luke 12:7 Luke 12:7But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: you are of more value than many sparrows.
American King James Version×). We wonder at those statements and when we consider His majesty, our minds find it hard to believe He really cares that much. He is a “scorekeeper” who is totally reliable.
God is interested in all humans and has the desire that all should be saved. That is why He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins. He would like humans to have a clean slate to start from. God does this because just as He is meticulous and just in rewarding our good deeds, He must also be meticulous and just in rewarding evil deeds.
“Rewards” for evil deeds
Although we can rejoice in the blessings God wants to impart to us, we need to be just as aware of how carefully He notes the things we say and do that He hates or that are sinful. Jesus wanted His followers to remember the complete justice that God represents. In Matthew 12:35-37 Matthew 12:35-37  A good man out of the good treasure of the heart brings forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
 But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
 For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.
American King James Version×, Jesus reminds us that just as a good man brings forth good things, so too an evil man brings forth evil things. Verses 36 and 37 state, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” That is getting down to details.
There are a number of caution signs that the Bible brings to our attention. It seems God keeps score of the evil deeds men do as well as the good deeds. It is for this reason that every person is in need of repentance and the gift of cleansing through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. God wants to erase and remove every reason to “reward” us for evil, and He wants to add wherever He can to reward us for good.
Paul caught the fullness of the future God offers. There is no end to eternity, and therefore the rewards or gifts God gives become important. It is such a tragedy when we are careless with the potential God grants us. Paul knew that the deeds of each person are known to God and will be made known—the good as well as the bad (unless the bad are erased by Jesus’ blood). He knew that each person has choices to make in his/her service to God.
Our deeds are tested
Our devotion and respect towards our Almighty Heavenly Father is reflected in all we say and do. Paul knew that each person would be tested and their works would be tested. God wants to know if there is truth and sincerity in what we are doing. He rejects those who say they are followers of Jesus, but have ahidden agenda or motive (Matthew 7:21-23 Matthew 7:21-23  Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven.
 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?
 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.
American King James Version×).
Paul tells us, “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15 1 Corinthians 3:14-15  If any man's work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
American King James Version×). We are enjoined to be sure nobody takes our crown (Revelation 3:11 Revelation 3:11Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown.
American King James Version×). There is great constancy in God. It is precisely because He is the ultimate authority that He must reward evil just as carefully as He rewards good. That is the character trait that makes Him Perfect and Almighty.
How grateful we can be to know the wonderful character that God possesses. He is not a God of uncontrolled emotions. He is not vengeful, hard to please, or unaware of all the challenges we face. “He is easy to please, but hard to satisfy” (C. S. Lewis).
He knows that many humans have been terribly affected during their childhood and are carrying heavy loads of inner scars. For some, there is no inner strength or ability to make thoughtful decisions. Nothing escapes the watchful eye of God. He works with great mercy, and it is not possible to fool God with phony credentials. But He is patient, kind, loving, and understanding towards every person on earth. He demands complete surrender to Him, but that surrender is the position of ultimate joy, peace, and happiness for all who find it.
His scorekeeping pencil is sharpened and poised. It is we who make Him write on the positive or the negative side of our ledger. He rejoices in writing the score that results in His giving good gifts (John 4:10 John 4:10Jesus answered and said to her, If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that said to you, Give me to drink; you would have asked of him, and he would have given you living water.
American King James Version×; 2 Corinthians 9:8-15 2 Corinthians 9:8-15  And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:  (As it is written, He has dispersed abroad; he has given to the poor: his righteousness remains for ever.  Now he that ministers seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)  Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causes through us thanksgiving to God.  For the administration of this service not only supplies the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings to God;  Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution to them, and to all men;  And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.  Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
American King James Version×). Luke 6:23 Luke 6:23Rejoice you in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers to the prophets.
American King James Version×, 35 are verses in which Jesus says “your reward will be great.” These are instances when we suffer for our beliefs. Rejoice and leap for joy when you are suffering for Christ.
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