Welcome to our Wednesday “Ask Beau” post. The purpose of this weekly feature is to provide you, our readers, with biblical responses to questions you have about practical issues that you face.
Last week Stratton A. asked me to comment on the situation with the now-famous ball that Derek Jeter hit to reach the 3,000 career-hits mark. If you weren’t aware of it, Jeter hit a home run to get to 3,000 hits, and the fan who ended up with the ball, Christian Lopez, was classy enough to return the ball to Jeter. Lopez demanded no repayment from Jeter and got none.
Yes, it would have been nice for Jeter to offer Lopez some money for the extremely valuable ball, but others have stepped up and rewarded Lopez for his good deed. The Yankees have offered Lopez some sweet gifts, including great box seats for the rest of the season. An article I found at the Detroit Free Press’s site says that Modell’s Sporting Goods, Miller High Life, and Topps have also pledged to give perks to Lopez.
Stratton was particularly interested in my thoughts on “how the fan’s selflessness is being rewarded.” Well, I think it’s great that his selflessness is being richly rewarded! It is refreshing when people recognize good deeds and reward those who do them. Sure, the Yankees, Modell’s, Miller High Life, and Topps gain some nice publicity through the deal, but I’d like to think that at some level, the rewarders saw something good in Lopez and wanted to bless him for it.
This situation raises a question, though. Should we seek rewards given for good deeds? The answer may surprise you: Yes, we absolutely should. We should seek rewards from God, to be specific.
The concept of rewards from the hand of God is quite prominent in the Bible. A number of biblical passages speak of rewards from God and either explicitly or implicitly encourage us to seek them. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his hearers to seek rewards from God rather than from man (Matthew 6:1–6; 16–18) and to store up treasures in heaven rather than on earth (Matthew 6:20). Paul said that God will reward Christians according to their deeds (1 Corinthians 3:10–15; 2 Corinthians 5:9–10), and the author of Hebrews said that it is impossible to please God if we don’t believe that He rewards those who seek Him (Hebrews 11:6). See also Luke 19:12–27; 2 John 8; Revelation 11:18; 22:12.
Some believers object to the notion of seeking rewards from God, and say, “No, I don’t want a reward—I just want to do the right thing because it is the right thing.” I’d like to suggest that this is an unbiblical attitude. If God Himself said that we should expect and seek rewards, then who are we to argue against Him in pseudo-humility? Of course we want to do the right thing, knowing that it is the right thing, but it is glorifying to God when we expect rewards from Him, because we are recognizing that He is benevolent and true to His promises.
Sometimes we get into problems, though, because we try to dictate what we receive from God, or when we receive it from Him. He is the giver, and the rewards are given as He desires. Often we will not receive them in this lifetime.
We also get into trouble when we seek rewards from our fellow humans. The Sermon on the Mount encourages us to think about rewards from God rather than rewards from man. This is a practically helpful thing because, while Lopez was rewarded in this case, people don’t always react so kindly to good deeds.
Now it’s your turn. What are your thought on Lopez’s situation, or on rewards in general?
—Beau StanleyFollow @beaustanley