We looked on excitedly as our dorm aunt and uncle maneuvered the covered wheelbarrow up the hill, onto the soccer field, and over to our group of 30 young people. We campers awaited the revelation of what was underneath the blanket with bated breath. Suddenly, the blanket was stripped away, and underneath: Klondike bars! Peanut butter chocolate Klondike bars, mint chocolate Klondike bars, classic chocolate Klondike bars. I was already well aware of the jingle associated with these delicious desserts, but I had not yet tried one. I was won over with one look at the beauties. (Campers always relish sugar when they get it at S.E.P., and I have a sweet tooth on top of that.)
The catch: To get one, we each had to complete an individual challenge. It was something simple, like saying “pickle” five times fast or running around the circle of people like a monkey. Do something slightly embarrassing, and you got to eat ice cream. The challenges answered the question, “What would you do for a Klondike bar?”
The answer was, “Nothing,” for some of the teenagers. They hid behind the more eager people and hoped to evade the challenges, which were written on paper slips and drawn out of a bag. Eventually, after everyone else had finished his or her task and gleefully grabbed the delectable sandwich of their choice, these people were called on and prodded by their counselors to accept a challenge. They protested for a while but finally succumbed to the positive peer pressure from their own dorm and their sibling dorm.
I was flabbergasted. They were doing the challenges for a Klondike bar. They would have rather flown under the radar than perform a silly 10-second task in order to get an ice cream treat. Their self-consciousness trumped their desire for ice cream.
But it was for a Klondike bar!
To an avid ice cream lover, this was a sad sight. I figured that the benefit far outweighed the cost. Sure, doing 10 push-ups in front of over 25 people could be somewhat embarrassing, but wasn’t it worth it? I wouldn’t run a marathon for a Klondike bar, but if you offered me a million dollars to run a marathon, I would grab my sneakers and go without any prior preparation. It’s all about how the payoff compares to the investment.
This is an important lesson to learn spiritually. God is offering us eternal life. Sometimes, we can look at all the sacrifices we make and forget what we are making them for. If you get kicked off the soccer team because you can’t make it to any of the games on Friday night or Saturday, or if you get made fun of at school for being a part of a “weird” religion, the natural reaction is to wonder why you keep dealing with those things rather than taking the easy way out and giving up your religion. But you have to keep your eyes on the Klondike bar at the end of the challenge.
“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” (Romans 8:18). A Klondike bar isn’t worthy to be compared to the glory which will be revealed in us either. It is a lame excuse for a reward when it’s put next to the reward God has in mind for us.
But the point still stands: Don’t forget the reason why you accept these challenges. Philippians 3:14 says, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Don’t be afraid of challenges. Remember that you will be rewarded for the things you suffer through for God. Remember that if you continue to press toward the mark, God will give you something far greater than a Klondike bar.
The next time you face a challenge, ask yourself: “What would I do for eternal life as a God being?” You might not be willing to do many things for a Klondike bar, but surely you can do anything for that future reward.