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Online Articles

What’s In It For Me?

The Lord described one of the shortcomings of the ancient Israelites as follows: "Everyone loves bribes, and follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, nor does the cause of the widow come before them"(Isaiah 1:23). Like many today, the people of Israel were not much interested in helping those who could not help them in return. The prevailing way of determining whether or not to be charitable and kind was apparently to ask oneself, "What's in it for me?" and "What am I going to get out of it?" And so it is today. Unless there is some prospect of being rewarded with pleasure, financial gain or praise, few will show much concern for the welfare of the needy and lowly.

It has been said that you can learn a lot about a man's character by observing how he treats someone who can do nothing for him. A person of quality will be kind to those who are in positions "lower" than his (e.g. waiters, cashiers, clerks, employees at work, underclassmen at school, etc.). He will go out of his way to be helpful to those who cannot pay him back.

Jesus expects His disciples to "condescend to men of low estate" (Romans 12:16). He explicitly commands us to do good to those who cannot or will not repay us. In Luke 14:13-14 Jesus said, "When you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just." And in Luke 6:35 He commands us to love our "enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High" (Luke 6:35).

Note that in both of the preceding passages, the reward for doing good to others is not material, financial, or even emotional — it's spiritual and eternal. Let not our love and kindness be sold cheaply for the temporary rewards of this life. Rather, store up eternal treasures in heaven by showing courtesy and compassion to all. Make it your task today to do something for someone who cannot pay you back.