Once a lady came by my study to ask me about heaven. She wanted to know if there would be degrees of rewards there. I told her that the scriptures teach us that there will be (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).
The Bible teaches that our destiny depends on faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), but our rewards depend on works (Revelation 22:12). It is by the grace of God that we are saved; it is by our faithfulness that we will be rewarded.
The woman did not understand how we could have different rewards and still be supremely happy in heaven. I explained it this way:
Suppose you loved classical music. All of your life you had studied it, enjoyed it, and developed an appreciation for it. Suppose on the other hand that I grew up on country western music and had never developed a taste for the classics.
Then suppose we attended a classical concert. We could sit side by side and hear the same music, but we wouldn’t get the same thing out of it. What we got out of it would depend on the appreciation we brought to it. You would enjoy the concert music more than I, but I wouldn’t realize what I was missing.
Heaven will be the same way. The person who has been walking with God and developing an appreciation for his work will get far more out of heaven than the nominal Christian. There are some people who are going to get into heaven, but they won’t get much out of it. They will enter in, but never enjoy it to its fullest. To get the most out of heaven we must make the most out of serving God on earth.
Now is the time to trust the Savior. Now is the time to develop your appreciation for heavenly things.