Today’s reading in the Book of Wisdom is like a conversation overheard on Judgement from the unrighteous who thought it was all a “fairytale” and mistreated and didn’t believe. Finally they see too late that we were right.
The reward awaiting us in heaven is also described. It talks of a “crown and diadem” received from the Lord. The Old Testament talks of grey hair being a Crown of Glory in Proverbs
Grey hair is a crown of glory;
it is gained in a righteous life.- Proverbs 16:31.
I suspect that if you managed to survive and live long enough to get grey hair, it was assumed that you must have avoided all the horrible pitfalls of disease and early death brought about by a life of debauchery. Therefore you must be living a righteous life. Some things don’t change much, those today who chose to live lives full of addiction, alcoholism and debauchery still have a far shorter life expectancy than those who don’t.
The New Testament however speaks of a different type of crown. The apostle Peter writes of an ‘unfading crown of glory’ (1 Peter 5:4), James writes of the reward of ‘a crown of life’ (James 1:12) and Paul writes to Timothy of the ‘crown of righteousness’ that all looking forward to Jesus return will receive on the Day of Judgement (2 Timothy 4:8).’
Usually we only hear these verses and prayers related to them at funerals, when sadly we are often too grief stricken at the loss of a loved one to really take notice. So I think it is a good thing to look at them now in a different setting and really think about the fact that we will have eternal life in heaven with Jesus and what that will be like.
Jesus himself kept it simple:
Therefore if you have done well and walked with him, you can expect a reward. For me - I don’t need a crown - just being able to stay in his presence is enough. But as Paul put it - Run the race well. I will add, remember its a meant to be a marathon not a sprint - you want the gray hair one day.