We make effort and we want to be rewarded for it here on this side of heaven. This desire itself sets up the following truth table for us to consider:
We make effort and are rewarded.
We make effort and are not rewarded.
We make no effort and are rewarded.
We make no effort and are not rewarded.
I am not at all discounting the reward that we have on the other side. This reality should inform what we do on this side so that some aspect of is sensed on this side. I am saying that there is something we should receive on this side even as we receive on the other side. Our reward should always be twofold: the receiving of treasure here in the form of love and the storing of treasure in heaven for later receipt. Treasure is earned in response to taking action on the will of God.
This is looking at the truth table from a spiritual perspective. When we make effort and are rewarded we are walking in the will of God. When we make effort and are not rewarded, we are not walking in the will of God. When we make no effort and are rewarded we have been rewarded by grace. When we make no effort and are not rewarded, we have not missed out on anything.
The natural perspective of the table is the one that may give the most trouble. The natural interpretation of the table is plagued by the vagaries of definition. What is a natural reward? At what point should we consider the reward satisfactory? How do we know we are really making effort? What if the wrong efforts are rewarded. The list of the questions can go on endlessly.
I offer in this manner to encourage the dropping of a naturalistic perspective with regard to effort. The natural perspective can never accomplish the will of God The natural perspective is best used to aid in discerning the will of God. This is not contradictory. The desire for reward on this side is a natural one that God recognizes. The use of reason is a tool help eliminate obviously wrong answers. The touch of the spirit allows us to see through the natural into the spiritual to make the right decision and covered by grace when we fall…the point however is not to fall.