Who hasn’t once or twice done something “good”, around others, hoping someone would see you and be impressed and comment about your “goodness”? And then you sit back and bask in the applause and afterglow of a deed well done. I’ve been there – recently – not proud of it.

When that happens to us, all I can say is that I hope it was worth it, because we just got everything we will ever get for that “good” deed. It turns out that Jesus sort of frowns upon on that kind of self-glorifying public positioning.


“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 6:1 ESV

In different verses in Matthew 6, we read clear examples around when we give to the needy, when we pray, and when we fast, and detailed commands about how to use our treasures. In all of these cases there is a tension, a choice, that determines who will get the glory and any reward. If our desires are for the applause of men, rather than the glory of God, the following message is written three times in Matthew 6 and is crystal clear.

Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

The way I see it, if you can “have no reward from your Father in heaven”, that must mean that there is a reward from your Father in heaven just for you if you don’t mess it up. One of the simplest and common ways we can mess it up is when we use our financial resources for our own glory and the applause of others. If you were to read all of Matthew 6, I think you would find it interesting that of the examples given that describe this “tension of reward”, four involve our finances or financial worry – giving, storing, serving, and supporting.


Rewards are always affected by your motives. Click To Tweet

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24 ESV

  • IF? – God chooses the terms –If you want to be seen so people put you on a pedestal, that’s a problem. If you want to be seen so Jesus is put on a pedestal, that’s an answer.
  • WHAT? – God chooses the reward – We don’t know exactly what our rewards will be, but I’m guessing it’s better than the applause and “’a’ta boys” of people around me.
  • WHERE? – You choose the place – Where do you want your reward? Temporarily on earth, or for eternity, in heaven?

When I get confused about this topic of rewards and the IF, or WHAT or WHERE of a reward, I try to remember this simple comparison. If someone were to see you doing anything good, would they be more likely to see you and praise you, or more likely to see God at work and praise Him? The right answer will keep you headed in the right direction to receive your best rewards!

John’s CHANGE FOR YOUR DOLLAR – Can you share a recent situation where you felt you got your reward form the applause of men, but in hindsight, how you could have given the glory to God?

Here is a tool to help you live your potential with wise money choices. Enjoy!

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