“A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’
“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’
“He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.
“The first one came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned ten more.’
‘Well done, my good servant!’ his master replied. ‘Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.
“The second came and said, ‘Sir, your mina has earned five more.’
“His master answered, ‘You take charge of five cities.’” (Luke 19:12–19)
The allegory is hardly veiled. Clearly, Jesus is the man of noble birth who left to have himself appointed king (which took place at his ascension) and will return. Upon his return, he rewards his faithful servants (that would be us, his followers). He repeats the promise but ups the ante in the tale of the sheep and goats: “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world” (Matthew 25:31–36). We’ve gone from houses to cities to kingdoms. We are given kingdoms. Which helps to make sense of why we are said to reign with him. Can you see the theme here? The victorious king gladly rewards his faithful companions.
It is a mind-set almost entirely lost to our age. Who even talks about reward anymore? Who anticipates it? Expects it? Honestly, I have never had one private conversation with any follower of Christ who spoke of their hope of being handsomely rewarded. Not once. Ever. This isn’t virtue, friends; we have not exceeded the saints and Scripture itself in our humility. It is a sign of our complete and total bankruptcy.