“Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.”

Every year on Ash Wednesday the Church provides us a lesson (from the Sermon on the Mount) from Jesus’ own lips on the proper attitude and disposition we are to have regarding prayer, fasting, almsgiving, and all good deeds (Mt 6:1-6, 16-18).  All of these things are to be done in secret, without show, so that no one (except God) is aware of them.  Christ calls out those who let it be known widely of their deeds in these matters, calling them hypocrites.  Each time the Lord mentions the hypocrisy, He also says the words at top.  What is the reward of which He is speaking?  It is the earthly adulation that comes their way from this show they put on.  No concern for eternal matters is in their minds.  This earthly glorification is enough for them.  How antithetical to that is Jesus’ life and teaching!  Never once does He call attention to Himself for all the good He did.  Sometimes He even asks those impacted not to say anything to anyone.  This is the model we are to follow.  What good are earthly rewards and accolades when we face Christ the Judge?  All these things will be stripped away by the only One who truly and completely knows our hearts.  Thanks and praise from others in this life is not a bad thing as long as we aren’t looking for it and as long as we credit the One from whom we receive every good gift.  This is humility, the acknowledgment of truth.  Truth is very powerful and will draw the sincere and the questioning while piercing those living a lie.  Living in such a way that demonstrates that the only reward for which we wish is eternity with the Lord follows the Lord’s command and will attract others.  A powerful way to preach the Kingdom and bring others along to the King.

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