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Summary: REWARDS IN HEAVEN. Somehow that seems wrong to me. Surely heaven is enough reward and besides, if all sin is regarded as the same and deserving of hell, how can good deeds then be rated on a scale, and rewarded accordingly?

Matthew 6 – Part 1 – FORGET THE REWARDS, I’LL DO IT FOR FREE!

Everywhere I look people offer me rewards if I buy this or shop at their store, or buy petrol at certain petrol stations. I am rewarded on my credit card if I buy a certain amount using their card. People at the Super Market ask me “Do you have a rewards Card?” Buy one get one free. We bought a video for my grandson yesterday and the assistant said “If you buy this down the back of the store, you get a free toy that goes with the movie.”

THEN I READ MATTHEW 6 AND IT SEEMS GOD HAS A REWARDS PROGRAMME TOO!

REWARDS IN HEAVEN. Somehow that seems wrong to me. Surely heaven is enough reward and besides, if all sin is regarded as the same and deserving of hell, how can good deeds then be rated on a scale, and rewarded accordingly, yet Matthew 6:1 says “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, FOR YOU WILL LOSE THE REWARD from your Father in heaven.

I see the motivation thing (Don’t do things to be noticed by others). It’s just the REWARD THING? In heaven I will not have a desire to sin anymore! What could be more rewarding than that? And why would other rewards be necessary?

Jesus is teaching His disciples on the mountain. This is LEADERSHIP 101. I know he’s speaking about motivation for doing good deeds but He keeps bringing up the rewards thing over and over again. I don’t really care about rewards personally, do you? What is this – a “be good and I’ll give you a stamp” thing, or “be good and I’ll give you a better mansion in heaven. You’ll have one with 50 rooms instead of just 20.” or “Buy into this and you’ll get a reward in the post”.

I DON’T GET IT! WHAT IS IT WITH THE REWARDS?

Maybe the rewards Jesus speaks about are HERE AND NOW, not in the sky when we die. That would make more sense. When I do things with the motivation of getting noticed by others then that’s all the reward I get. When I do things for God, with the right motivation of genuine love for Him and others, then I am rewarded by God immediately, and others see just how great God is, not me. Matthew 6:2-6 seems to say this, “When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received ALL THE REWARD THEY WILL EVER GET. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, THAT IS ALL THE REWARD THEY WILL EVER GET. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. THEN YOUR FATHER, WHO SEES EVERYTHING, WILL REWARD YOU.

Not mansions in heaven when I die, but some kind of IMMEDIATE REWARDS, maybe in terms of growth in my life and a sense of having made a difference in the world and a great witness to others concerning Christ. Maybe that’s what Jesus is getting at. I hope so, because I’ve got to tell you Lord, I’m really not all that motivated by rewards in heaven. Maybe that’s just me.

If all I’m doing good works for is to accumulate riches in heaven, that seems like a selfish and rather hypocritical pursuit. You tell me not to love money and things more than You on earth. Why all of a sudden am I to pursue rewards in heaven? That doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

I’ve focused on the rewards bit, but the focus of this passage has to do with wrong motives for doing good things in the community in which I live and in my Church. I don’t give so that others will recognise me and praise me. It’s not about my ego or even my self esteem. It’s not about feeling obliged to do good things either – you know just doing things out of a sense of duty to God and no heart behind it.

But Lord, is my motivation to do good works based on trying to get You to recognise me and reward me? That seems all about me not You. I would rather just please You because I love You. That’s reward enough. Is that OK? It seems it is because you say in Matthew 23:11-12 (NLT) “The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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