MATTHEW 5:46_For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same?
We like rewards, especially when we have worked hard to receive them. We like to see an accomplishment receive its due credit.
In the kingdom of heaven, we don’t necessarily work to be rewarded – but God does use that system. Our work for God is to love His people by being salt and light in a dark and thirsting world. The fact that God rewards us for that is a blessing.
Just because we love those who love us does not win a blue ribbon. Jesus said even tax collectors (publicans) can do that. Let’s take a moment and clarify tax collectors. In case either or both of your parents work for the IRS, don’t think they are the chief of sinners. During Jesus’ earth time, Israel was occupied by the Romans. The Romans demanded taxes from the Israelites. Tax collectors were considered enemies. Hebrews who worked for the Roman government to collect taxes from their fellow neighbors were considered traitors. Rome allowed the Hebrew tax collectors to charge extra for themselves (under the table). Therefore, if Jesus wanted to leave a graphic image of the worst of sinners, tax collectors were a good choice. Jesus says even bad or weak people can love those who love them.
And for the record, Jesus taught to pay taxes – even if they went to Caesar. But He did not defend the Hebrew who stole extra tax money.
Returning good for evil leaves a salty residue.
God of Love, Please don’t let my love be weak, let it be powerful. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen.
Christ loves those who don’t love Him—He helps me to!