Our Very Great Reward!

Genesis 15:1

After these things the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”

Many people mistake Christianity for altruism.  But Scripture does not.  It openly and frankly speaks of reward.  Some people say “That’s true of the Old Testament.  Those primitive people had to be approached on that level.  But Jesus came to give us a truly spiritual message without these crude promises of reward.”  People who say such things have obviously never read the New Testament, for the apostles are blunt in their desire to know “what’s in it for me”?   And Jesus, to the astonishment of altruists everywhere, doesn’t rebuke the question as crass and selfish.  He answers it: “Plenty!” (Matthew 19:27-29).  How can this be?  Because not every reward is mercenary.  A man who marries for money is mercenary.  A man who marries for love is receiving the reward proper to his love.  Likewise, a ball player who is rewarded with victory is receiving the reward proper to his desire.  And in the same way, the rewards of the Christian life, glory, eternal life, union with God and our neighbor in love, endless happiness, are the proper rewards of the desire for Christ.  Today, be like Abram and don’t be afraid to seek the reward proper to faith in Christ.

Mark Shea


Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog and regularly blogs for National Catholic Register. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.

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