"Do not behave like the hypocrites." —Matthew 6:5
The root of the word "hypocrite" means "play-acting." Jesus teaches that discipleship can never involve play-acting; being a disciple of Christ means to live righteously from the heart. Disciples live to please the Lord God (see 1 Thes 2:4), not to obtain a reward for ourselves.
The word "reward," in this parable, means a limited repayment, which only satisfies the "actor." The word "repayment," as applied to God repaying an act of trusting, humble discipleship, is a free, unlimited reward from God. The disciple leaves the reward, if any, in the hands of God.
God may choose to repay now, repay at a much higher rate, or not at all. God may repay a small or huge amount; true disciples leave that all up to Him. Unlike the hypocrite's repayment, the disciple's reward does not limit God's generosity, but trusts in His providence. The fruit and the reward could be huge, if God desires.
Play-acting limits the reward, limits the fruit, and directs attention to the hypocrite, not to God. Discipleship places no limits on fruit or repayment. All glory goes directly to God.
Resist the temptation to play at being a disciple of Jesus. Take up your cross each day and follow in His footsteps. Give the Lord your all in love.
Prayer: Father, may I never limit You in any way. Give me a heart that lives for You alone.
Promise: "He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully." —2 Cor 9:6
Praise: St. Aloysius, born into royalty, did not play courtly games, but even as a teen remained true to himself and his Lord.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 22, 2017
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