Monday, August 7, 2017

nothing up His sleeve...


St Ambrose tells us about eternal rewards today in A Year with the Church Fathers. And he tells us that it's wiser to invest our time and money and energy in helping the poor, because they can't repay us, rather than investing them in the wealthy, who can. He says the reason is that Jesus promises to reward us when we help those who can't repay us. So it's a better investment.

However, I recently thought of something that makes me wonder. I mean, I take Jesus at face value, and I believe that He genuinely WILL reward us for helping those who are in need.

But.

Recently I was thinking about a friend of mine, who is incredibly selfish. I have honestly never known her to do one thing out of pure generosity, and I've known her a very long time. Even when she does nice things for people, it's always because she wants to get them in her debt, or so that later she can say "remember when I did that for you?" When she does nice things, which is seldom, it is always with strings attached.

I was thinking that for one thing, it's miserable to live like that. You miss out on the pure joy of doing good for others just because they need it and you care about them. But you also miss out on this eternal reward that Jesus promises us. So I was, in my wily ways, wondering how I might trick my friend into doing some good things for people who need them. And once she had done it a few times, and experienced how great it feels to be generous, maybe she'll start doing it on her own. She'll feel how great it is to be someone she can be proud of, someone who can look in the mirror at the end of the day and think, "I did some good today."

And then I thought.... wait.. a.. minute. Is that what Jesus has been doing to me all along?

God, thank You for Your promises, which I know are true. And for what might be behind them.