Mat. 6:1-4 “How to Give so that you Get a Reward from God”

A sermon by Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 21 Aug 2011


6:1 Hold closely your righteousness,

            not to do [things] in front of men in order to be watched by them;

            now if you don’t, you aren’t holding a reward beside your father in heaven.

6:2 Therefore, whenever you do charity,

            you should not trumpet before yourself as the hypocrites do

                        in the synagogues and in the avenues

                        in order that they might be glorified by men.

            I’m telling you truly, they are holding out on [or holding in full] their reward.

6:3 But as for you, when doing charity, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

            6:4 in order that your charity might be in secret,

            and your father who sees in secret will reward you.

Intro – Sweepstakes: Follow the rules or you are ineligible

It is part of American culture to offer sweepstakes. Some company wants shoppers to pay attention to them, so they advertise a set of fabulous prizes which they promise to give away free to a randomly-chosen winner – if you enter your name and follow their rules: You have to be over 18, a resident of the continental United states, agree for your name and likeness to be used in company promotions, and so on and so forth. If you fail to enter, or if you fail to meet the qualifications, then that Publisher’s Clearinghouse Prize Patrol won’t be coming to your door!


In God’s economy there is a prize far more fabulous than has ever been offered by any corporation, and that prize will be given freely to many people, but there are rules for how to participate. In Ch. 6 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus gives us the inside scoop on how to qualify for God’s grand prize!


6:1 Προσέχετε [δὲא,f1] τὴν ἐλεημοσύνηνMaj,Byz/dikaiosÀnjn א,f1,UBS ὐμῶν μὴ ποιεῖν ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς· εἰ δὲ μή γε, μισθὸν οὐκ ἔχετε παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ ὑμῶν τῷ ἐν [τοῖς א,f1] οὐρανοῖς.

6:1 Take heedKJVBewareNAS/Be carefulNIV/Hold closely your almsKJV/charitable deedsNKJ/ righteousness, not to do in front of men in order to be seenKJV/noticedNAS/watched by them; now if you don’t, you aren’t holding a reward ofKJV/withNAS/fromNIV/alongside your father in heaven.


Take heedKJV/BewareNAS/Be carefulNIV/Hold closely your righteousness (dikaiosunhn)

s         Context:

o       Psalm 106:3 “Blessed is he who does righteousness at all times”

o       Jesus said that John’s baptizing Him would fulfill righteousness, (Matt. 3:15)

o       and earlier in the sermon on the Mount, He said we are blessed if we are hungry for righteousness (5:6) and persecuted for righteousness (5:10),

o       but that if we wanted to enter the kingdom of heaven, we would have to exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees. (5:20)

s         The majority of Greek manuscripts copied in Europe during the Middle Ages have a different word: elehmosunhn mercy/charity/giving to the poor/alms,” which shows up again in all Greek Bibles in v.2, so we’ll deal with that word when we get to the next verse.

s         Three ways of living in “righteousness” are mentioned in this chapter: 1) charitable giving, 2) prayer, and 3) fasting.

s         As we have seen in Matt. 5, Jesus wants our heart; He is not looking for mere outward acts of worship, He calls us to worship God with the right attitude. Benevolence, praying, and fasting all may be done as acts of worship wholeheartedly to God, or they may be done for man-centered reasons – just in order to look good in front of people. Here Jesus warns us of the problem of doing the latter:

“Take care not to do your righteousness in front of men in order to be seenKJV/noticedNAS/ watched (qeaqhnai) by them”

s         Back in 5:16, Jesus had said, “Start shining your light… before people, so that they might see your good works and might glorify your Father in the heavens.” But now, Jesus is saying that we should NOT let people see our good works. Is this a contradiction? Briefly, No.

o       For one thing, the goal of shining our light properly is the same - NOT so that we will be seen, but so that people might glorify God.

o       Secondly, the word for “see” is different here. In 5:16, it is the word ὁράω, which has to do with perceiving - perceiving that what you are doing is good before God, whereas here in 6:1, it is θεάομαι, which, according to Thayer, is “often used of public shows”– in fact, this word in 6:1 for “be seen” is the word from which we get our English words “theater, theatrics.”

s         If our giving is nothing more than a theatrical performance, it will not count toward our treasure in heaven.

s         The word “hypocrites” used in the next verse is also borrowed from the vocabulary of acting and theater in the old world. Ancient Greek actors were called “hypocrites” because they were wearing a mask and acting the part of someone other than their real selves. Of course everybody in the theater knew that the actors were there to act a part, but when they saw it in real life, they began using the word to describe anyone who was trying to act like someone they are not. It was not a compliment in Jesus’ vocabulary.

s         If we try to act like our lives are organized around God in order to impress people, when our lives are actually organized around ourselves, that is hypocrisy, and Jesus sees right through our little acts.

s         EXAMPLE: In the O.T. law, God told the men to attach blue tassels to the corners of their clothing as reminder to follow God’s commands rather than doing their own will. Also in Deuteronomy 6, God told them to do additional things to remember His commandments, and some Jews took it literally, tying strips of paper with the 10 commandments to their arms and foreheads – they called these phylacteries. By Jesus’ day, some Jews were getting compet­itive with these things. In order to prove that they were holier and more godly than the next guy, they’d make their tassels and their phylacteries bigger than everybody else’s. Then everybody else would have to make tassels and phylacteries bigger to prove they weren’t slipping in their spiritual status, and then somebody starts making them even bigger![1]

s         Don’t we do the same thing today? I’ve seen evangelical Christians do it with Bibles. The expensive Bibles with the black leather covers indicate that you are among the most serious Christians. The less color, the more spiritual you are, and, of course, the bigger the Bible you carry the better! I hit the jackpot with my Interlinear Bible – it’s bigger than others because it’s not just one Bible, it’s actually three copies of the Bible all in one binding – it’s so big, that carrying it around is like weight-lifting, but nobody can miss the fact that I’m carrying a Bible when I’m lugging that thing around, and that’s the important thing! The only problem is that it has a blue cover rather than a black one, so my spirituality may be a little bit in question <grin>.

“[Otherwise,] if you don’t [take care], you aren’t holding a reward (misqon) alongside your father in heaven!” – What is this reward?

s         In some places in the Bible, misthon is used in the sense of wages or paychecks to pay a laborer fairly for what he has done for you.

(a)    Rom. 4:4 – “not of grace, but obligation,”

(b)   Matthew 20:8 – parable of the workers in the vineyard who all got the same paycheck even though some worked more hours than others;

(c)    “The laborer is worthy of his hire” applied to supporting Christian preachers in Luke 10:7,1 Corinthians 9:17, 1 Timothy 5:18)

s         In other places, this concept of reward is speaking of a spiritual reward rather than a salary[2]:

(d)   This “reward” comes when the dead are judged (Revelation 11:18 …thy wrath came, and the time of the dead to be judged, and the time to give their reward to Your servants … to those who fear Your name, the small and the great; and to destroy those who des­troy…”) and it is in heaven. Mat. 5:12, Luke 6:23great is your reward in heaven…”

(e)    This reward is the opposite of getting praise from men; instead the reward is to be appreciated by God – Mat. 6:1 “Watch out; do not perform your righteousness before men, to be seen of them, lest you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

(f)    Having God the Father and Jesus as your continual possession is the reward: 2Jn 1:8-9 “Look to yourselves, that you don’t lose the things which we have developed, but that you receive a full reward. Who ever goes off and does not remain in the teaching of Christ, does not have God: he who remains in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

(g)   Part of the reward is be able to enter heaven - Rev 22:12-14 “Behold, I come quickly and my reward is with me, to render to each man according as his work is... Blessed are they that wash their robes, that they may have the right to come to the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the [heavenly] city.”


With the stakes so high, we can’t afford to break the rules of this sweepstakes, and the rule is to pursue righteousness with a certain attitude and for a certain purpose. Now, we see this rule applied to three different righteous actions, Charitable giving, praying, and fasting. I’m just going to start today with Jesus’ application of it to giving:


6:2  ῞Οταν οὖν ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην, μὴ σαλπίσῃς ἔμπροσθέν σου, ὥσπερ οἱ ὑποκριταὶ ποιοῦσιν ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς καὶ ἐν ταῖς ῥύμαις, ὅπως δοξασθῶσιν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων· ἀμὴν [ἀμὴνא] λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπέχουσι τὸν μισθὸν αὐτῶν.

6:2 Therefore, whenever you happen to do charity[give to the poorNAS/needyNIV], you should not trumpet before yourself as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the avenues in order that they might be praisedESV/honoredNAS/glorified by men. VerilyKJV/AssuredlyNKJ/I’m telling you truly, they are holding out on [or have in fullNAS,NIV] their reward.


One clear rule for living a godly life is that we be generous to the needy. Giving to the poor is demanded by the law of God:

s         Tithe: Deuteronomy 14:28-29 At the end of every third year you shall bring out all the tithe of your produce in that year, and shall deposit it in your town. The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

s         Gleanings: Leviticus 19:9-10 Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger. I am the LORD your God. (cf. Ex. 23:10ff)

s         Lending: Deuteronomy 15:7-8 If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

s         Daniel 4:27 O king, may my advice be pleasing to you: break away now from your sins by doing righteousness and from your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor…

s         Ezekiel 18:7-9 if a man does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from iniquity and executes true justice between man and man, if he walks in My statutes and My ordinances so as to deal faithfully--he is righteous and will surely live," declares the Lord GOD.

s         Luke 6:38 Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure--pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.

s         Galatians 6:2 Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

s         James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

s         Even here in Matt 6:2, Jesus doesn’t say, “If” you give, but “when” you give, assuming that it would be done by His followers. List compiled by William Hendricksen, Scripture from NASB


This charity of giving to the poor and needy (elehmosunhn) is a theme throughout the Bible:

Genesis 47:29b The favor of carrying Joseph’s bones 300 miles on foot back from Egypt to the promised land. (“deal kindly and truly with me: bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt”)

Deuteronomy 24:13 The charity of restoring a deposit on a loan if the borrower is really too poor to afford the deposit (“thou shalt surely restore to him the pledge when the sun goeth down, that he may sleep in his garment, and bless thee: and it shall be righteousness unto thee before Jehovah thy God.”)

Psalm 24:5 The charity of God blessing people with His salvation (“He shall receive a blessing from Jehovah, And righteousness from the God of his salvation.”) cf. Isaiah 1:27 “Zion shall be redeemed with justice, and her converts with mercy.” Isaiah 59:16 “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his own arm brought salvation unto him; and his mercy, it upheld him.”

Proverbs 20:28 It is what upholds a king, in addition to truth and righteousness (“Kindness and truth preserve the king; And his throne is upholden by righteousness.”)

Proverbs 21:21 It is the path to life and honor (“He that followeth after righteousness and kindness Findeth life, righteousness, and honor.”)

Pro 31:28 It is the way a mother takes care of the needs of her children (“her kindness to them sets up her children for them, and they grow rich, and her husband praises her.”)

Luke 11:41 It was Jesus’ exhortation to his corrupt leaders. (“But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean unto you.” cf. Luke 12:33 “Sell that which ye have, and give alms; make for yourselves purses which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief draweth near, neither moth destroyeth.”)

Acts 9:36 It was what the godly lady Tabitha did when she made clothes for poor people (“Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.”)

Acts 24:17 And it was something the Apostle Paul was zealous to do, bringing money he had collected from the Gentile churches in Turkey to the temple in Jerusalem. (“Now after some years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings”)

Above verses are quoted from the American Standard Version


So it is part of the right way of living as a Christian to give charitably to the poor. So what is the right attitude and right goal that we must have in order for our charitable giving to be rewarded by God?


6:2 “…you should not trumpet before yourself as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the avenues in order that they might be praisedESV/honoredNAS/glorified by men.”

s         salpishV– The Greek word here is a verb form of the noun for “trumpet” – “to trumpet.”

s         Apparently, in Jesus’ day, it wasn’t the government but rather it was the religious community which took care of the poor. It was part of the tithe system in the law of Moses which had turned into a church-tax by Jesus’ day. (According to Wm. Hendricksen and J. Calvin)

s         If you gave more than was required, then the synagogue official would announce your name in front of the church and how much extra you gave, then they would go out to a street[3] where poor people lived and blow a trumpet (ostensibly to summon the poor people to get their gifts, but it was just as much really to draw attention for everyone to see their generosity), and then they would hand out little baskets to the poor.

s         We don’t do this kind of thing nowadays, do we? Oh yes!

s         Reporters at the Huffington Post are currently trying to find out about the charitable giving of the various Republican candidates and publicizing their financial records. These reporters were miffed when Michelle Bachman wouldn’t reveal how much she gives to charity. More appears to be known of Mitt Romney’s giving since he makes donations through his family foundation, which is a matter of public record. In addition to millions invested in the Mormon church and its institutions over the years, in 2010, “the GOP presidential hopeful donated $127,000 to charities serving children, cancer and MS patients and severely wounded veterans.” That should make anybody feel good about supporting him! What’s more, he’s promised that he would not draw a salary if he were elected to the White House! The Huffington Post seemed to conclude that Romney’s public generosity makes him a better candidate than Bauchman with her clandestine giving patterns.[4]

s         In what ways do we let others know about the good things we have done for other people? Sometimes a neighbor or person at a store asks me (by way of greeting) what I’ve been up to. Should I tell them, “I just treated a homeless person to lunch!”?? Now, it’s possible to simply say what you’ve been up to with no intent to impress hearers, but not easy for me to do because it is too easy for me to care what people think of me!

s         We are hypocrites if we think we are obeying God but we are really just trying to impress people. God is not the sort that can be impressed.


So what if I don’t care about God’s rules? What if I just want to impress people? Jesus says,


“VerilyKJV/AssuredlyNKJ/I’m telling you trulyNIV, they are holding out on (apecousi) their reward,” or, alternately, “they have their reward in fullNAS,NIV.”

s         apecousi – Literally means “to abstain from” (“apo/away-from + echw/holding”) Thayer’s definition 1A is “to hold back, keep off, prevent.” I tried to follow the parallel use of the verb ecw and its compound-words here, starting with the first word in v.1 “hold closely” to “holding a reward alongside your Father in heaven” to the end of v.2 “holding out on their reward.”

s         However, a stash of business accounting records written in Greek upon papyrus paper was discovered in Egypt in the early 20th Century which used the word “apecw” to mean “account paid in full,” so English translations made after this discovery render this word with the phrase ‘have their reward in full.[5]

s         Here in Jesus’ teaching, both meanings apply – We forfeit God’s reward when we look for reward with man, and in doing so, we get paid in full with that reward from man. There will be no further reward from God for those good deeds which we did for human applause.


So, we see how NOT to give, but how DO we give? V.3 tells us:


6:3  σοῦ δὲ ποιοῦντος ἐλεημοσύνην μὴ γνώτω ἡ ἀριστερά σου τί ποιεῖ ἡ δεξιά σου,

“But as for you, when doing charity, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”


Application #1: Annonymity

s         In Middle Eastern culture, you should never give anything to anyone else using your left hand; you always pay people with money from your right hand, so here your right hand is giving a gift to a needy person, and isn’t letting your left hand know about it.

s         This is a figure of speech, overstating the case for emphasis, like the earlier passage about gouging out your eye if it causes you to stumble. The idea is not to advertise your generosity to other people, so, if you can be so sly as to slip off a gift without your other hand knowing about it, then chances are nobody else saw either, and that’s the ideal.

s         ILLUSTRATION: Jesus’ first miracle: For me to give personal illustrations on this principle would be running the risk of violating this principle, so here’s one way that Jesus followed His own principle of giving anonymously – one of his close family friends was getting married in Cana, and they invited Jesus and all of His friends, which turned out to be a few more people than the host family could afford to feed at the wedding dinner. Jesus’ mother thought this would be a good time for Jesus to go public with his divine power, but He shushes her and quietly orders the servants to fill up the jars that everybody had used to wash up before the meal. When they did so, they found the jars full of good wine, probably enough to sell and buy more food too. Apparently his mother Mary and his disciple John were the only people who figured out that Jesus was behind it, He did it so unobtrusively.

s         As you consider Jesus’ example, how can you give in such a way that nobody knows it was you? Those of us who struggle with caring too much about what other people think of us should be particularly keen to push in the opposite direction to be as anonymous as possible with charity.


Application # 2. Beware the “What a good boy am I” syndrome.

s         “There is always the danger of selfishness in virtuous action.” ~John Calvin

s         So JFB advise in their commentary, “So far from making a display of [charity], dwell not on it even in your own thoughts, lest it minister to spiritual pride.”

s         It is instructive in the parable of the sheep and the goats, that when Jesus says, “I was hungry and you fed me,” the righteous people don’t say, “Oh you must have been one of the hundreds of people I fed in the soup kitchen downtown; I’m so glad I served there now!” No. Instead of patting themselves on the back, they’ve apparently forgotten the good deeds they’ve done, “Lord when were you hungry and we fed you?” I don’t recall!

s         “…don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,(v.4) in order that your charity might be in secret…”

o       opwV – in contrast to v.2 “in order that they might be glorified by men” we have “in order that your charity might be in secret for God alone to see”

o       kruptw - “secret” is defined in relation to prayer as going into your inner room and closing the door in v.6

s         A policy of “Do It For God & Forget It” (without calling people’s attention to it) seems to be what Jesus recommends to us. (Maybe we could create a new market for DIFG&FI bracelets?)


This is the inside scoop, the attitude and purpose in which to give charitably which will result in winning the heavenly sweepstakes reward.


6:4  ὅπως ᾖ σου ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ, καὶ ὁ πατήρ σου ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ [αὐτοςMaj] ἀποδώσει σοι [ἐν τῷ φανερῷMaj,it].                      6:4 in order that your charity might be in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

s         This is a new moniker for God, who up to now has been called “our Father in heaven;” here He is called “our Father who sees in the secret [place].” (That sounds like a good name for a new Lutheran church…)

o       Gen 16:13 – Hagar recognized God as “the God who sees”

o       Psalm 139 – God sees us in the secret place of our mother’s womb

o       Hebrews 4:13 “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (NASB)

s         God not only sees every anonymous act of kindness, He is also able to see into the secret recesses of our minds to know our motivations behind our actions. He knows whether we are doing what we are supposed to do with a bad attitude because we don’t want to get into trouble or whether we are doing it cheerfully to glorify Him.

s         The more-recently-copied Greek mss. make the subject of the last clause emphatic (your father Himself) and add a contrast phrase to “in secret” (“will reward you openly” – lit. “in the light”)

s         There will come a day when all our secret actions will become public knowledge: Eccl 12:14, Matt 5:3-12, Matt 10:26, Mark 4:22, Luke 8:17, Luke 12:2-3, Romans 2:16, 1 Cor 3:13, 1 Cor 4:5, 1 Cor 14:25, 1 Tim 5:25, Rev 20:12-13

s         And God is a rewarder:
Our Heavenly Father’s passion for rewards is covered in the book of Hebrews perhaps more than anywhere else in the Bible. The writer of Hebrews uses a unique compound word combining the Greek word for “reward” (mison, which Jesus used in Matt 6:2), with the Greek word for “pay/deliver,” (apodidwmi, which Jesus also uses here in Matt. 6:4), portraying God as the “deliverer of rewards” (misthapodosian):

o       Hebrews 2:1-3 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty(μισθαποδοσιαν), how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard,

o       Hebrews 10:34-37 For you showed sympathy to the prisoners and accepted joyfully the seizure of your property, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and a lasting one. Therefore, do not throw away your confidence [your trust in Jesus to save you], which has a great reward (μισθαποδοσιαν). For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. FOR YET IN A VERY LITTLE WHILE, HE WHO IS COMING WILL COME, AND WILL NOT DELAY.

o       Hebrews 11:6 and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder (μισθαποδοτης) of them that seek after him.

o       Hebrews 11:24-26 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward (μισθαποδοσιαν).
(The above passages are from the NASB translation.)

s         Not only do we have a God who keeps track of every wrong thing we’ve done, but He also notices every thing we do right and will be meticulous about reimbursing us for every thing we do – even when nobody was looking.

o       In Matt. 10:42, Jesus says that even the act of merely giving someone a cup of cold water will be rewarded by God!

o       Hebrews 6:10-11 God is not unrighteous to forget your work and the love which you showed toward His name, in that you ministered to the saints – and still do minister. And we desire that each one of you may show the same diligence unto the fullness of hope even to the end.


I want to go back to the first word in this passage for the conclusion of this message. Προσέχετε is a compound word with the word “to/toward” + “have/hold” – The great NT Greek scholar from the 20th Century, A.T. Robertson, explains the meaning of this word has to do with the way we think, and that it can be translated “hold the mind on a matter, take pains, take heed.”

It reminds me of the idiom we have in English of playing cards “close to your chest” – holding your cards so close that nobody but you can see them. Jesus is teaching us that when it comes to doing good for other people, we need to play with our cards close to our chest and not show off what we’ve got to everybody around us.

Of course it’s possible to go overboard and be so elaborate about secrecy that you end up drawing attention to yourself because of how secretive you’re being, so there’s a balance here, as always. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with some other people knowing what you’re doing, as long as you are doing it for God rather than for the attention of those people.

The Greek word “echw/have/hold” is found not only in this first word, but also as the last verb in v.1 “you don’t have/hold a reward” at the end of v.2 “they have their reward in full” or as I have alternately translated it “they are holding out on/forfeiting their reward.” In other words, if you  play close to your chest when giving, because you are only concerned with trusting and obeying God, then there is a reward for you with your heavenly father.

The preposition in the Greek New Testament describing the disposition of the reward relative to our heavenly father is the word “para.” I think it is unfortunate that most modern translations have translated the Greek preposition “para” (from which we get our English “parallel”) as “from” instead of using “with” as the KJV does. Marvin Vincent, a Christian commentator from the 19th century who was an expert in the classics, wrote that the picture created by this preposition “para” is that the reward is “reserved for you and awaiting you by the side of your Father.” (ATR concurs, “beside your Father, standing by Hi side as He looks at it”)

It all comes back to whether we are secular humanists or Biblical Christians. Either God is irrelevant, and the opinions of other people are what really matters, in which case we will live to get glory from other humans, or God is all-important, and we will not care what people think as long as we are pleasing to God.

As you have invested in a personal relationship with God through giving with Him alone in mind, the treasure of deepening that personal relationship together with Him in heaven will be your reward in which you will find thrilling delight for all eternity.

“They who in their alms-giving study to approve themselves to God, only turn themselves over to him as their Paymaster. The hypocrite catches at the shadow, but the upright man makes sure of the substance” ~Matthew Henry


[1] Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Numbers 15:37-40 The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God.

Matthew 23:5 But all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge their tassels. (NASB)

[2] In addition, there are two places that mention “rewards” given by evil people for performing wickedness: 2 Peter 2:13 suffering wrong as the hire of wrong-doing; men that count it pleasure to revel in the day-time, spots and blemishes, revelling in their deceivings while they feast with you… 15 forsaking the right way, they went astray, having followed the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the hire of wrong-doing; (||Jude 1:11)

Orange text is from my 1 Cor 3 sermon.

[3] ῥύμαις – the concept of “lane” in English is as broad as it is in Greek (shopping lane, shipping lane, lane of traffic, street), but all 5 times it is used in the Bible, it is a public street (Isa 15:3 – mourning in the streets and housetops, Mat. 6:2; Luke 14:21 – recruiting dinner guests from the highways and lanes; Acts 9:11 – Straight street in Damascus; Acts 12:10 – street from Peter’s prison)


[5] I do not see that this latter translation is necessary here, Num 32:19, Phil 4:18 being the only places I can find which require this second meaning.