In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus teaches us an important lesson about the Christian concept of reward and how it differs from that of the world. The world’s is based on material gain for something done. We win prizes for winning races. We receive a reward when we turn in a wallet that was lost. Maybe a parent gives a child money for her good grades. Or we are praised for doing something exceptionally well. In the worldly concept of reward we expect something in return, like what the good servant received on his master’s return (Matthew 25:21).
But the Christian concept of reward doesn’t focus on the material gains for doing well; it’s focus is spiritual gain. It foregoes material benefits in exchange for something else, centered upon love and the contentment in doing what is right. The reward of the Christian is finding joy in doing what pleases God above all else, at any cost. That is why Jesus tells us to hide the good we do from the world, in our almsgiving and our prayer, for when these spiritual goods are done publicly, they move our hearts away from the spiritual reward only the Father can give us. Many times we opt out of these spiritual gains because as human beings we like to be recognized.
Let us be attentive in the coming weeks to be aware of the good we do, and be attentive of our motives, asking ourselves ‘why’ we do what we do. What is the reward we seek? Let us take heed of Jesus’ counsel:
“Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them; for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
May God bless you!