God is the rewarder of men. Every charitable deed gets a reward. The question is what kind of reward? Is it the earthly kind or is it the heavenly kind?
The great reward is the heavenly reward. Jesus says: “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven.” (Luke 6:23).
But the earthly reward is blasé. Jesus never tells any man to leap for joy because of it. It is déjà vu. Eye has seen it, ear has heard it, it has come into the minds of men.
But the heavenly reward is extraordinary. It is exceptional. The Bible describes it as “unspeakable”. Some translations call it indescribable.
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Matthew 13:44-46).
That speaks of the allure of the heavenly. Nevertheless, many insist on the earthly reward. “Men of the world” want their portion in this life. (Psalm 17:14). But David only wants the heavenly. He says to God: “As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness.” (Psalm 17:15).
Which reward do we desire? Have we found anything worth forsaking the world for? Once we receive a reward for anything in this world, we cannot get another reward for it in heaven. To get the heavenly, we must forsake the earthly. God does not reward those who have received earthly payment.
Jesus emphasises this in teaching about giving to the poor, who cannot repay. He says: “When you put on a dinner, don’t invite friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbours! For they will return the invitation. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the godly, God will reward you for inviting those who can’t repay you.” (Luke 14:12-14).
In the same vein, He warns against ostentatious giving: “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise, you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.” (Matthew 6:1-2).