Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Focus on the Right Reward

Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor [thy] rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. – Luke 14:12
This is one of my favorite sayings of Jesus. I remember hearing it as a child and it has stuck with me. Now, I don’t believe that Jesus is saying that we should never invite our friends, or influential people over for dinner or supper. He isn’t saying we shouldn’t take our co-workers to dinner and pick up the tab, if we feel so inclined, but he is making a point about the reward we will receive. And I think it can apply to more than just eating.

Look at the things we do and why we do them. Often, when we invite our family over for a meal, it is because we want to have a good time together. That is our reward. People used to invite their bosses to have supper with them in their house. I’m not sure why that is out of vogue now, but I think it is safe to say that people would do that in hopes of improving their relationship with their boss. That is their reward. A lobbyist might invite a politician to some event, hoping the politician would vote for what the lobbyist supports. That is his reward. But we wouldn’t expect these things to result in rewards in heaven. But if you find a poor man and invite him to eat with you, you have no expectation that he or anyone else will repay you. Sure, it makes you feel good, but that isn’t really a reward. You will receive a reward, but not here. Your reward is laid up for you in heaven.

If we want to increase the treasure we have stored for us in heaven, we should be focused on doing things for people who have no ability to repay us. I don’t know what our reward will be, but I know it’s going to be good. I mean, come on, we’re going to be wiping gold dust off our shoes; anything that we’re going to consider a reward will have to be extra special.

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