Tomorrow My wife, Joann, and I will have the honor of giving the “John Ashley Inspiration Award” to a graduating Senior at Michigan School for the Deaf. This award was established in honor of our youngest son Johnny in 2008. Two of his teachers decided to establish this award because of the impact Johnny had on them, and really, most of the people at MSD. In Spite Of all that Johnny had endured in his time as a student there, he always kept a positive attitude and (for the most part) had a smile on his face. The above picture is Johnny, with his mom’s help, preparing to give the award himself to a student in 2013.
This time of year many graduates will be receiving awards and scholarships because of the hard work and dedication. They will be rewarded for their efforts, and deservedly so.
When Johnny finally “graduated” to his heavenly home, he was rewarded with a new body and an eternity with no pain, sorrow or suffering. Revelation 21:4 “ And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” Johnny endured much pain and sorrow here on earth, now he is enjoying the rewards of his faithfulness to God. Romans 8:18 “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Should the Lord delay His return to take His bride away, we will all have a “graduation” day. That day in which our faith will become sight. We will enter into glory to see and experience things that we can only imagine right now. We won’t arrive there because of our goodness or any religious works that we have done, but because we have trusted in what Jesus Christ has already done for us. John 1:12 “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Johnny placed his faith in Jesus at the age of 12 years old. He realized that he was a sinner and needed God’s forgiveness, he prayed and trusted Christ. Based on the authority of the Word of God, I believe that Johnny is running, jumping, and rejoicing in heaven. 1 John 5:13 “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”
I pray that everyone that reads this post has the same hope in them today that Johnny did as he lived his life on earth. It is also my prayer that we will hear “Well done” when we reach heaven. Just like the graduating Senior that is rewarded for their hard work. we too will be rewarded for being a faithful child of God. Many want to hear “well done,” but aren’t meeting the requirements of rewards. God will reward the “good and FAITHFUL servants,” not just the redeemed. GOD REWARDS FAITHFULNESS.
In today’s world, faithfulness is a kind of moving target. People seem to have their own opinion of what faithfulness looks like. I have read in a couple different places lately, that people have the attitude, that being faithful to church is attending two services a month. That means at the most you are there 50% of the time the doors are open. That’s if your church only meets once a week. How would that look if we applied the same standard to other areas of life: our job, our marriage, associations we may be members of. I’m sure my wife wouldn’t be very pleased if I missed half of our wedding anniversaries or her birthdays.
God calls us to faithfulness to Him. That would include the institution that He gave His life for, The Church. What about our prayer life, Bible reading, being a witness to others, taking up our cross daily and following Him? I know that heaven will be a reward beyond belief, but I sure want to hear Him say when I arrive, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…”
How about you? If we want to hear Him welcome us home with a “well done,” then we must determine to be faithful. I believe the first words Johnny ever heard is “Well Done, thou good and faith servant. Thou hast been faithful in a few things…” Johnny had a life well lived for Christ. Even though he may not have totally understood it at the time. May God help us to live to receive rewards!
To read the inspiring story of a life well lived. “Finding Grace and Peace IN SPITE OF Trials and Tragedy, The Johnny Ashley Story” click on the link below to purchase your copy at Amazon.com.