“The things which are highly esteemed among men include money, power, position, and praise…Jesus emphasizes the virtues required for entrance into the kingdom of heaven: humility, dependence, lowliness, simplicity, obedience, and a willingness to love and be loved…To be “blessed” is to be full of joy and hope in relationship with God. Blessed are those who have directed their attention from earthly rewards, who have gone deeper than superficial thinking…We seek to follow Christ and live by His Spirit, but because the harvest still appears to be so far off, and because we are not yet seeing the fruits of what we have done, we are tempted to give up. As St. Paul tells us, if we struggle on, we will reap our reward if we do not lose heart.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Luke 16:15, Matthew 18:1-4, Susan McCarthy Peabody, Father Stephen De Young)

“If you do good, you must do it only for God. For this reason you must pay no attention to the ingratitude of people. Expect a reward not here, but from the Lord in heaven. If you expect it here—it will be in vain and you will endure deprivation.” (St. Ambrose of Optina)


“We most often experience cause and effect as a sense of control. Our failures haunt us while we obsess about what might have been. Some seek to partner with God, looking for ways of praying and living that rig the game in their favor. Much of this is utterly contrary to the purposes of God in our life. We seek for success and accomplishment. We look for rewards and things we perceive to be desirable and good. Surely no one prays and asks for difficult things. And yet the difficult things are precisely the place where the refining fire of God’s grace burns brightest and best. No one is saved by success and prosperity…We are indeed saved by grace.” (Father Stephen Freeman)


“One repents not because one is virtuous, but because human nature can change, because what is impossible for man is possible for God. The motive for repentance is at all times humility, unself-sufficiency - not a means of justification for oneself, or of realizing some abstract idea of goodness, or of receiving a reward in some future life. Just as the strength of God is revealed in the extreme vulnerability of His Son on the Cross, so also the greatest strength of man is to embrace his weakness: "for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I render glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (2 Corinthians 12.9).” (Greek Orthodox Archdiocese)


“Yes, one is deluded if one does not notice that many ungodly people live well all of their lives. This basic spiritual truth forecloses any simplistic, reward-based theology. The Prophet Job carefully describes what we might call the good life in order to show that many godless people indeed have it all: children, home, success in business, pleasures, wealth, and a tolerable repose (Job 21:8-13). Worse, in living thus they “do not wish to know [God’s] ways” (vs. 14) and see no “reason . . . to serve Him” or benefit in meeting Him (vs. 15). After all, apparently “good things are in their power” (vs. 16) – and that brings up the rub! The sensitive mind naturally questions why the godless prosper, if God is a righteous judge.” (Dynamis 8/13/2019)




Please reload