After this, our good Lord said, ‘I thank you for your service and your suffering, especially in your youth.’ …God showed me three degrees of bliss which every soul shall have in heaven who has willingly served God, whatever his degree upon the earth. This first is the glorious gratitude of our Lord God, which he will receive when he is delivered from suffering.. the second degree is that all the blessed in heaven will see that glorious gratitude, and God makes the souls’ service known to all in heaven…the third is that this will last eternally just as new and delightful as when it is first received.Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, Ch 14, Long Text.
“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to what he has done.Rev 22:12
One thing I’m sure of is that there will be no envy in heaven; envy comes from a perception of lack when comparing your own life with that of another, and that will simply not exist. No, what I find most beautiful about this revelation is simply how grateful Jesus is for our choice of him. This seems slightly ridiculous when placed in the context of how grateful we are for his choice of us..and yet this is the outrageously humble nature of God’s love. I liken this to the end of season party we used to have when I played rugby in the military. The coach would go through the team, talking about the amazing contribution each one of us had made, even turning our mistakes into amusing anchdotes that lifted us out of any sense of shame and built us up, rather than tearing us down. It was a team effort.
Whatever our entry to heaven looks like, we know that we have a loving God that is simply kneeling, waiting, towel wrapped around his waist to honour us for the contribution that our lives have made to revealing his Glory on the earth. Whatever our ‘degree’ upon the earth, king or beggar, his gratitude has no favourites. For it will be what has flowed from the gratitude of our hearts on earth that will be rewarded with the gratitude from his heart in heaven.