“Then your father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
~Matthew 6:6b (NIV).
“For God will bring every deed into judgment, including ever secret thing, whether good or evil.”
~Ecclesiastes 12:14 (NRSV).
We probably know the theory quite well. What we do in secret—whether good or evil—is not really done in secret at all, not at least as far as God’s concerned.
I’m focussing here on the positive side of this theory—which is what we should focus upon; putting it into vast practice, choosing the ‘secret’ blessing, over our lives. It’s the focus that says, “God knows about, and will bless us for, all the secretive good deeds we do, for him.”
Spending Our Rewards Here on Earth
Our default is for reward. The dying flesh wants its pound. There’s almost nothing we can do about this but re-train the mind to look for something different, indeed to reject the transitory and shoot for the eternal.
We all want recognition and monetary fairness, promotional opportunities and to sell our books or CDs (it seems there are so many people these days with a product to sell). We see that the intelligence we’ve acquired should be rewarded, not considering that there are millions who’ve worked just as hard as we have, and are just as talented—millions as ‘worthy’ as we are.
The more we think about the more we become. If we’re constantly thinking about being ‘blessed’ (i.e. materially) we can only end up disappointed.
When we do receive our scant rewards, we spend them, clamouring for the feeling of the pleasure we desire, all the while missing the bigger, more resplendent picture—the image of the reward in heaven.
Besides, we all feel cheated and we’re constantly ‘missing out’ when we’re grasping for things.
Storing and Restoring Rewards in Heaven
Distant blessings are truly of God. When we give way to the receipt of the blessing now, we have something bigger to look forward to. We place into practice the very principle the apostle Paul talked about in Philippians 3:7-9. He considered everything—every reward here and now—a loss in comparison to knowing Christ.
The rewards Paul was talking about were the qualities of a prestigious name—something he had as a highly respected, zealous Pharisee. For us it’s a career vested in the esteem of men and women, but perhaps not considering God—as if all the acclaim in the world would make one fleeting difference in heaven.
Of course, it’s a folly. We know it implicitly but then we don’t ‘believe’ ourselves; we just give way to more ambition and worldly accomplishment, because that’s the seemingly indelible benchmark of success scourging our humanity.
Giving ‘It’ Away
It is a principle of biblical spirituality—a vastly operant paradox—that the more we give away, the more we inevitably receive. This works intangibly, to the ways we cannot perceive, as well as tangibly—to the things we’re receiving as a direct result of our good deeds and also the rewards for diligence we’ve received from the view of hindsight, as well as the rewards coming.
The best thing we can ever do is forget reward—banish it from the level of self understanding. Yes, this is achievable.
We must actively relinquish the worldly in search for the supremely infinite riches of heaven; those we cannot see. Even today we can do this.
Find something, anything, to give away to someone needier.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.