Every morning I have a goal of walking. One reason, is for my health, but a second is because we have a very rambunctious 4 year old Wheaton Terrier. Her name is Sami, she has taught us that she has much better days when we start our days with a long walk on the trail. Sami pulls as hard as she can the first 4 blocks of our walk. Why??? Because she cannot wait to get to the trail! Why??? Ground Squirrels!! Everywhere!! We have one of those retractable leashes for Sami and it is the perfect way for her to enjoy her hunt of the ground squirrel. As we walk along, Sami will spot a ground squirrel 40ish feet away and begin her secret stalk. She very slowly creeps up to the ground squirrel until she is just 5 feet away and then POUNCE! She takes off and tries with all her might to catch that little guy. I always hope I have two hands on the end of the leash before she goes. A couple of times I have been caught off guard when she pounces and I can feel every muscle and nerve in my arm give way when she reaches the end of her leash and the handle pulls my shoulder out of joint! To this date, Sami has never caught her reward of a ground squirrel. She has come close, but never won. What will I do on that day that she actually captures one in her mouth?? You may hear my scream no matter where you live! Even though she has never captured her squirrel, she never tires of trying! Every day she can’t wait to get to the trail and secretly stalk her reward!
We all like getting rewards! (ok, maybe not a squirrel in the mouth!) Rewards motivate us, congratulate us, and keep us going. They tell us we have done a good job. Rewards make us feel worthy. There are endless types of rewards we enjoy: likes on a social media post, winning a game, fitting into a smaller size, good grades, buying an item that has been saved for, paying off a debt, getting a promotion, graduating from high school or college, rewards from hotel stays or flights, and even rewards from certain grocery stores!
We also see rewards offered for certain things…like a missing person, a lost dog, or a lost piece of jewelry. These are things that mean so much to a person and they will pay a high price to get what they love back.
Today, in Matthew Chapter 6, we see the word REWARD used 7 times. Jesus is teaching the Sermon on the Mount and one of the things He is stressing in this chapter is where we will find our reward.
Here are 3 topics that Jesus discusses in Matthew 6.
1-Giving – Matthew 6:4 “so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
2-Prayer – Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
3-Fasting – Matthew 6:18 “so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
All three of these verses state the words, will reward. These 2 words in the greek language comes from the word: apodidomi – apo=from+didomi=give This means to pay for or give back, implying a debt. This word carries the idea of obligation and responsibility for something that is not optional. To give back or pay back or to do something necessary in fulfillment of an obligation or expectation. The idea is that God will fulfill His promise to us because it is His obligation. There is no wondering if we will be rewarded. It is a promise that if we do what He is asking in secret (not for the honor of men) then He will reward us.
People are motivated by rewards. I know I am!! There may be those who think the idea of being motivated by an attractive reward is unspiritual. Yet God has filled the Bible with promises of amazing rewards. He makes promises to keep us from giving up hope, to inspire us to persist in the face of adversity.
God built the desire for reward into our hearts. He created us with the desire to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” (Matthew 25:23 NIV)
As Christians, we should spend more private time with God. Our relationship with Him should be the most important relationship we have. All that we do should be done to His glory, for His cause, and in His name. Whether it be meeting the needs of others, spending time in reflection and prayer, or fasting for some specific purpose. What God sees us doing in secret, He will reward us!
Heaven promises to be more than we ask or imagine. Paul says, “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). What motivates us to give, pray or fast in secret? The God who sees what is done in secret has promised that one day it will all be made right. He will reward us beyond our wildest dreams. It is so easy to let this slip our minds in our busy day to day life.
Every morning, my Sami reminds me of this in our first 4 blocks of our walk! She never forgets what is waiting for her on that trail! She pulls and pulls until we get there. We should have the same motivation every morning we get out of bed. Yearning to spend time in secret with our God, getting to know Him deeply, knowing of the promise of His reward!!