When the Disciples were given the two commandments by Jesus – to love one another and fulfil the great commission – it was an assignment that each of us has (even today) to point people towards God. That God’s love, grace and mercy would be poured out amongst all nations. Jesus told His disciples, numerous times, to “take up their cross and follow Him”.
These two commandments aren’t an option, if we love Christ, we need step out in boldness to fulfil our God given purpose. Taking up the cross, is symbolic for us to “die to ourselves”. It’s to go against our own desires. That as we start to be led by God, we decrease and He increases in our life.
From that, the reward is eternal life.