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Matthew 6:2-4 (ESV):

2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV):

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6:16-18 (ESV):

16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Matthew 6 promises rewards by the Father to those who give to the needy, pray and fast in secret. What rewards exactly? Rewards in heaven? Rewards on Earth? Both? What is meant by reward in this context?

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Matthew 6 opens with a general statement:

1“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

The rest of the chapter mentions particular instances of giving to the needy, praying in private, and fasting unnoticeably. In all three, Jesus is making a distinction between what is seen by men and what is not seen by men.

These 3 cases are followed immediately by treasures in heaven:

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The 3 cases are bookended by heavenly realities. From the context, I believe the rewards here are heavenly rewards that are not seen by temporal men.

What are the heavenly rewards?

Good question. Unfortunately, I do not have a good answer.

Matthew 5:11-12

“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 16:27

For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.

I do not have any specifics about the treasures/rewards in heaven.

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Consider the parable in Luke 19 (NKJV):

“And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. “Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

Or in Matthew 25:

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them.

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

And Revelation 20:4–5:

… And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.

Jesus is clearly talking about himself, when he returns to rule the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. At that time, saved Christians will be resurrected (or converted if still alive) into spiritual form and will work and rule alongside him.

Some will be rewarded with more authority than others, based on how well they made use of the gift of God's holy spirit during their physical lifetimes.

Notice that in the Question's quotations from Matthew, the other people have already received their "reward", and won't be participating in the Millennium. This could be compared with the parable where the prodigal son receives his reward up front and squanders it, leaving his brother to inherit everything from his father.

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What is meant by "Reward" (μισθὸν) in Matthew 6:1?

Matthew 6:1 [NASB] - “Take care not to practice your righteousness in the sight of people, to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”

  • The Reward [is] keeping your soul.

Proverbs 19:16

"He who keeps a commandment keeps his soul; he who despises his ways will die." (שֹׁמֵ֣ר מִ֖צְוָה שֹׁמֵ֣ר נַפְשׁ֑וֹ בּוֹזֵ֖ה דְרָכָ֣יו יָומֻֽת יָמֽוּת)

Proverbs 19:17

"He who is gracious to a poor man lends to YHVH, and He will repay him his reward." (מַלְוֵ֣ה יְ֖הוָה ח֣וֹנֵֽן דָּ֑ל וּ֜גְמֻל֗וֹ יְשַׁלֶּם־לֽוֹ)

How do we earn our "Reward", besides keeping God's commandments?

Matthew 19:16-24 [NASB]

"[16] And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do so that I may obtain eternal life?”

[17] And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” [18] Then he said to Him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony; [19] Honor your father and mother; and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

[20] The young man said to Him, “All these I have kept; what am I still lacking?” [21] Jesus said to him, “If you want to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

[22] But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. [23] And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. [24] And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

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    So you mean the "reward" in Matthew 6 is eternal life?
    – HoRn
    Apr 8 at 13:30

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