Q: Our Sages teach that we are meant to serve Hashem without any condition of receiving a reward. But why is this so?
A: If one serves Hashem merely for a reward, then that individual clearly has failed to grasp the privilege and honor to serve Hashem in the first place.
The greatest reward one can obtain is the ability to fulfill the duties of Hashem. The best rewards are opportunities to properly observe Shabbat, keep kosher, pray, and perform the various mitzvot. We must remember that we are the only nation given the chance to complete all these deeds. Why would anyone ask for another reward?
One should proclaim, "Thank you Hashem for giving me the merit and the honor to serve You!"
Of course, there is a great reward that will be bestowed in the World to Come, but why should we have such a time in our minds, when we should be consumed with thoughts of our current standing. From the moment we awake each day, we may wish to think of the merit to study Torah and be surrounded by opportunities to complete good deeds.
For example, when you rise each morning, do not touch your eyes! Instead, recite the t'fillah of Modeh Ani, then wash your hands, and remember not to eat before praying. Look at how many opportunities for mitzvot and halachot you just followed simply by following Hashem’s commandments in just the first ten minutes upon getting up! Then, one should go to shul, men should put on their tefillin and pray with concentration. Afterwards, one should sit to consume the vital breakfast meal, possibly wash for bread, and of course conclude with the recitation of Birkat HaMazon. At work, one can put special effort to follow the commandments of not stealing or lying. It is unbelievable how many wonderful chances one is given to fulfill a mitzvah and serve their Creator daily.
We must thank Hashem for granting us the ability to live this holy lifestyle and more importantly not desire and other reward for our actions.
By Rabbi Yaakov Rahimi
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