Do some people get more/better/different rewards in Heaven?
During a conversation with a co-worker this question was raised just as we were about to head home. I typed this all up and thought about posting the e-mail but at the time I decided against it. The question has come up again in the space of a week, on an internet message board this time. For my own convenience, all of what follows is a copy/paste of the commentary I sent to my co-worker.
The verse that was in mind this afternoon was first corinthians chapter 3 verse 12 and the surrounding context. The Apostle Paul wrote this letter to the church at Corinth. Paul was one of the better-educated men of his day, and lots of the main doctrines of Christianity are spelled out in his letters.
1 Corinthians 3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
You guys still can't deal with the deeper theological stuff, because you still have trivial/worldly drama. This one preacher named Apollos was pretty popular, and Paul was popular, and the people were getting caught up talking about "well I go to this cat's church" instead of going on into the more important stuff...
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
Preachers aren't the point...
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
This is the bit I was thinking about:
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.
(the day = a day of judgement of the works christians did. Not go-to-Heaven/Hell judgement day)
14 If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
You can get saved from your sins and go about doing things that don't help God's kingdom to be increased, and it will prove to have been vain in the end. Or you can go and Do the Right Thing and you will have a reward for having done so.
This page uses a different translation of the Bible than I prefer but it does a decent job expounding on the concept: