40 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

Matt 10:40-42 (NIV)

All actions for Jesus sake are detected by the One who keeps accounts – nothing goes unseen by His all-seeing eye. We have no need to worry about this nor keep account ourselves nor even speak about what we do in the Name of Christ. We can be certain that when we go out in the sweet name of Jesus - doing works for His glory – equipped by His power - it will be noted by the Master. We are not to brag about our works – anything eternal is done through the power of the Holy Spirit - rather we are to allow our works to bring us praise from the Father. So many times I hear tongues wagging (mine so included) over pious actions done and I think to myself, “Be quiet! You are seeking to receive only the poor reward of the affirmation of man – and this will be your reward in full.” How silly of us to sacrifice God’s jewels for man’s paste gems! I am reminded of our Lord’s Word to us regarding this in the Sermon on the Mount:

1 “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matt 6:1-4 (NIV)

It is no wonder that Jesus tells us we are not to even let our left hand know what our right hand is doing! We are so proficient at and have such a tendency towards stroking our prides in seeking the praise of men that we can even mask this vain pursuit with mere innuendos sans words – hopeful someone will jump on our praise bandwagon!

This precept is clearly fleshed out in Acts through the life of Cornelius. He was a devout and God-fearing Gentile centurion whose prayers and gifts to the poor did not go unnoticed by God. He was told in a vision by an angel of God to send his servants to “fetch” Peter who would eventually lead him to faith:

3 “One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, ‘Cornelius!’ 4 Cornelius stared at him in fear. ‘What is it, Lord?’ he asked. The angel answered, ‘Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. 6 He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.’ Acts 10:3-6 (NIV)

“A tree is known by its fruit; a man by his deeds. A good deed is never lost; he who sows courtesy reaps friendship, and he who plants kindness gathers love.” St. Basil

Jesus also desires for His followers to know at a gut level that anything we do for others is as if we are doing it for Him. We are to see Jesus in each face we minister to. He cares deeply for every soul and we are to do likewise. Kindness shown is valued by Christ not in accordance to the cost of the gift but according to the motivation of love and affection of the giver – the widow’s mite was highly regarded and serves as a wonderful example for us. We do not have to be rich in worldly wealth to be rich in good deeds and good deeds are expected of all followers of Jesus. In the Parable of The Sheep and the Goats our Lord affirms those who did just that – even though they were unbeknownst of this in their doings. All actions motivated by the love for the recipient do not go unnoticed:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matt 25:34-40 (NIV)

“He does much who loves much.” Thomas a Kempis

“Our Lord does not care so much for the importance of our works as for the love with which they are done.” Teresa of Avila

What I Glean

  • All actions for Jesus sake do not go unnoticed by God.
  • I am not to let my left hand know what my right hand is doing.
  • In serving others I am serving Jesus.