I’ve heard people say that our reason for doing what God commands shouldn’t be the good things that might happen to us as a reward for obeying him. They say, “You should obey God because he is God, purely as an act of worship. Stop focusing on the reward!”
This sounds good, until you notice how many times Jesus also focused on reward we would receive if we follow his commands.
Looking at this passage, one cannot reasonably propose that Jesus thinks we should have only worship and obedience as a motivation, because he gives us so many other motivations.
I’ve written them down. Here are …
Jesus’ Motivators from the Sermon on the Mount
(Reasons we should do what Jesus says – from Matthew 5-7)
Matthew 5:3 – Ownership in the Kingdom of Heaven*
Matthew 5:4 – Being Comforted
Matthew 5:5 – Inheriting the Earth
Matthew 5:6 – Satisfaction
Matthew 5:7 – Receiving Mercy
Matthew 5:8 – Seeing God
Matthew 5:9 – Being Called a Son of God
Matthew 5:10 – Great Reward in Heaven
Matthew 5:11 – That others will see your good works
Matthew 5:19 – Being Called Great in the Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 5:20 – Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
Matthew 5:21 – Avoiding Judgement
Matthew 5:22 – Avoiding Hell*
Matthew 5:26 – Avoiding Prison (Physical or otherwise)
Matthew 5:37 – Avoiding having your behavior sourced by evil
Matthew 5:45 – Being a child of your Father in heaven
Matthew 5:46 – Reward from God*
Matthew 5:48 – Being like God
Matthew 6:15 – Receiving Forgiveness from God
Matthew 6:20 – Having treasure that will last
Matthew 7:2 – That your measure of Judgment won’t be used on you.
Matthew 7:5 – Ability to help others get out of sin
Matthew 7:6 – Avoid being trampled by ‘pigs’
Matthew 7:7 – Getting good things from God
Matthew 7:14 – Avoiding Destruction
Matthew 7:15 – Avoiding being tricked by false prophets
Matthew 7:23 – Avoiding being cast away by God
Matthew 7:24 – Avoiding being like a house that falls because it’s not on a good foundation
I’ll just point out that this is just three chapters from one of the Gospels.
So the questions is – do you want these things?
* Indicates motivators that are given more than once.