Applause: Rewards in Heaven or on Earth?
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
Recommended Reading – Matthew 6:1-6
In September 2014, Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, reported receiving an anonymous gift of $25 million—the largest in school history—to be used for student scholarships. On the other hand, earlier in the year a well-known technology company CEO publicly donated shares of his company worth just under a billion dollars to the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Some people give anonymously, others give publicly.
Everyone has reasons for how they give, but Jesus identified a good reason to keep acts of spirituality anonymous: rewards. In His first-century culture, Jesus saw religious leaders performing acts of piety—giving, praying, fasting—publicly. His response was along this line: “Fine. Just be aware that you only get rewarded once for your acts. You can either receive the rewards of praise from men by acting publicly or receive God’s rewards by acting privately” (Matthew 6:1-6, paraphrase).
So the question is: Whose applause would you rather have—God’s or man’s?
Those who give to God only the shadow of duty can never expect from Him a real reward.