In God’s eyes it’s not the visibility of the gift that matters, but the diligence with which it is embraced and exercised. And this puts the onus on each of us to ask how and where God has called us to serve his purposes, then to serve then and there in his strength and for his glory, joyfully entrusting it all to him.
I think we are all guilty at times of importing our understanding of earth into our assumptions of heaven. We are all guilty of importing our understanding of how things work here to how they will work there. We look at the world we know and extrapolate to the one we don’t. I sometimes fear, though, that our thoughts of heaven are actually marred by our experiences of earth.
I have often heard people speak of those who are in heaven and use language such as “the people closest to the throne” or maybe those who “have the biggest mansions” or those who are given “the greatest reward.” And certainly there seems to be some variety to the degree of the rewards God will dispense to his people—though variety that will neither swell the hearts of those who receive more nor provoke the hearts of those who receive less (if that is, indeed, the way things work).
When I hear people use language like “those closest to the throne,” they almost invariably speak of people who are known and famous, who are acknowledged by other believers to have accomplished a lot for the Lord and for his purposes. Surely that one who preached so faithfully to such great crowds and that one who wrote books that sold so well and that one who served so committedly and so publicly—surely they are the ones who are counted great in the kingdom. Surely they are the ones who receive the greatest honor in heaven. After all, they are the ones who received the greatest honor on earth. If God’s people held them in such high esteem here, why wouldn’t God hold them in similarly high esteem there?