I don't write or talk much about the service I do. I don't even think about it much. It is just something I do, like so many other people out there. But there is one thing that is fast becoming a pet peeve and that is being assured of “treasures in Heaven,” or some other kind of post-life reward for doing things here.
This is a common belief in Christianity, but I always saw it as either a persuasive rhetorical device, or in the worst case, selling someone less than a bill of goods. Pay now and find out what your going to get, and get it, so much later that you will be “the late” when it happens. In this case I don't object to buying on the disincarnation plan so much as the whole notion of buying anything. The idea of quid pro quo itself is deeply offensive.
This isn't the surface defensive ego offensiveness that we have come to almost exclusively associate with the term: what we might more clearly call being personally offended. No this is not just deeper but isn't personal, it isn't against the person but rather against the relationship.
Turning those wonderful opportunities to actually help someone into transactions of that far distant kind takes attention away from the value that lies in the relationship itself. Within the relationship is the transaction that matters, and it is a very human one. It isn't gratitude, it isn't recognition—it is what makes us truly human. It is an expression of love, but not personal love, not love of someone in particular. But rather the love that is the deep connection between all of us.
As human beings we are drawn out of the existential loneliness that is our condition, through this connection, to others. When we truly connect with one another, that bond is there. 'I' becomes 'we' for a time. A deep communion can happen.
The Epistle of John tells us that God is love, and that where love is, there is God. When we have the privilege to connect with those whose need makes them vulnerable, we can be vulnerable as well. And together, this temporary 'we' can accomplish a things for 'us.' In this, benefits for 'I' don't enter in.
This is why we serve. Not for an imaginary treasure in an imaginary heaven. But for the real treasure that lies in the heaven we touch together.