He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. – Psalm 91:1
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus introduces his disciples to a reward system for doing good things in secret. I know that sounds foreign to us, especially in our age of Facebook, Twitter and the selfie generation, but nonetheless it’s biblical according to Jesus. There are rewards promised by God when we do certain things without others knowing about it.
The first time Jesus mentions a reward for our acts of “righteousness” has to do with giving to the needy or the poor, in secret.
“But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:3-4).
You don’t need to announce it or make a big deal of it, just do it. In fact, if you do make a big deal out of your giving, Jesus promises no reward at all, except maybe from other people and that isn’t worth two cents!
The next occasion regarding a reward from our heavenly Father, follows the first one and it has to do with praying.
“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” (Matthew 6:6).
As a pastor, I am frequently called upon to pray publicly. Now I don’t mind doing that and hopefully my prayers are edifying, but I know that prayers that are seen and heard are not my best prayers. My best prayers are those that are done in secret, between my heavenly Father and myself, and no one else needs to know about them.
The last word from Jesus on God’s reward system has to do with fasting, or going without food for an extended period of time for spiritual reasons.
“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 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” (Matthew 6:18-19).
So there we have it. Our Lord’s guaranteed threefold reward system from our Father in heaven for giving, praying and fasting. Now, am I practicing what I am preaching? I’ll never tell. It’s a secret! Maranatha!