Most of us look to friends and colleagues or superiors for rewards: a pat on the back, a hero’s award, applause, a sincere compliment. But according to Jesus, the more important rewards await us after death. It is possible that the most significant human acts of all are carried out in secret, seen by no one but God. The message of the kingdom is this: Live for God and not other people.
As Jesus explained it, we are storing up a kind of savings account, storing up “treasures in heaven” (Matt. 6:20) rather than on earth – treasures so great that they will compensate more than enough for any amount of suffering. Jesus spoke plainly about a place where “the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matt. 13:43).
In their search for a kingdom, the Jews of Jesus’ day had been looking for signs of God’s approval in this life, chiefly through prosperity and political power. Jesus changed the focus to the life to come (Matt. 6). He reduced the value of success in this visible world. His teaching was, ‘Invest in the future life.’ After all, rust, thieves, or insects can destroy all else that we accumulate (Matt. 6:20).
So let us seek the approval of God and not the approval of man. Ask God to help you put into practice the principles of the Sermon on the Mount. Remember, reward in eternity does not depend upon recognition in life.