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“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)

“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)

"The difficulties faced each day by worldly people serve as their 'monastic rule', and it is by them that they are purified. Such difficulties do far more good for people than any easy, worldly life, which does not help them either to get closer to God or to amass a heavenly reward. This is why people must accept such difficulties as gifts from God." (Blessed Elder Paisios)

“Only the good deed done for Christ’s sake brings us the fruits of the Holy Spirit. All that is not done for Christ’s sake, even though it be good, brings neither reward in the future life, nor the grace of God in this life.” (Saint Seraphim of Sarov)

“It is not so much that we are judged by God, but rather by our own consciences. The decisions we make in our daily lives determine our eternal reward or our eternal punishment. The judgment that we encounter at the end of our earthly lives is simply to be shown what we have chosen.” (Fr. Joseph Irvin)

“The highest reward for a man's toil is not what he gets for it, but what he becomes by it.” (John Ruskin)

“We live in a fallen world where good behavior is not always rewarded and bad behavior not always punished. Therefore, innocent people sometimes suffer.” (Life Application Study Bible, John 9:2-3)

“In the Old Testament, obedience often brought reward in this life (Deuteronomy 28), but obedience and immediate reward are not always linked. If they were, good people would always be rich, and suffering would always be a sign of sin. As believers, our reward is God’s presence and power through his indwelling Holy Spirit. Later, in eternity, we will be rewarded for our faith and service.” (Life Application Study Bible, Matthew 19:27)

"Our celebrity culture measure success with great precision, broadcasting the gross revenue of each current movie, details of the latest multi-million dollar signing by a sports star, the rise and fall of stock markets in mutual funds. Yet Jesus made a sweeping statement that nothing is more important than loving God and loving our neighbors. He said we serve him by offering water to the thirsty, caring for the sick, and visiting those in prison… the kingdom of heaven has different rewards in place. It takes faith to believe that the rewards promised by God matter more than the immediate rewards of a success driven culture." (Philip Yancey)

“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see, the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.” (St. Augustine)

“Of course, there will be trying periods in our life when the path of ascension toward God will seem exceptionally difficult. Then we should think that for every step taken there are a thousand rewards being prepared. Sufferings along this path are momentary, but the rewards are eternal." (St. Innocent of Alaksa)

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