A Righteous Man’s Reward (Helaman 13)

by | Jun 5, 2019 | Scripture Study | 1 comment


In Matthew 10, Jesus gives His twelve apostles instructions regarding going out into the various cities to share His gospel. He tells them to preach, heal the sick, cast out devils, etc. He also tells them to stay in the homes of whichever families would be willing to receive them, commenting that such hospitable families would receive “a righteous man’s reward” (Matthew 10:41).

What is a righteous man’s reward? And why should people who may or may not be righteous receive it? As used here, a righteous man’s reward would consist of any God-given benefit realized by others — righteous or not — as a result of being in close proximity to the servant of God.

For example, in the scripture above, suppose a natural disaster would have hit one of the cities and God allowed it to miss the house where His disciple was staying. The entire household would then benefit from this intervention intended to preserve the righteous man — they would all have received the righteous man’s reward.

Whether we realize it or not, God’s blessings to each of us can extend to other people who are probably not even aware they are receiving them. For example:

  • With the many incidents in recent years of school shootings, many of us regularly pray for the safety of the schools where our children attend. Guess what? As a result of those prayers, ALL of the children who attend those schools are kept safe — whether their families believe in God or not.
  • When any of us travels by airplane, we typically have many people praying for us to have a safe flight. Guess what? As a result of those prayers, EVERYONE riding on that plane gets God’s protection. If the other passengers knew this, they would be happy to know you’re on board.

Helaman 13 introduces a man named Samuel the Lamanite. Samuel has been sent by God to preach to a Nephite nation that has become quite wicked. In the midst of berating the Nephites about casting out the prophets and relying on their riches, he lets them know about a righteous man’s reward they are undeservedly receiving:

“Behold, if it were not for the righteous who are in this great city, behold [God] would cause that fire should come down out of heaven and destroy it. But behold, it is for the righteous’ sake that it is spared.” (Helaman 13:13-14)

In their wickedness, the Nephites likely resented the people trying to live righteously among them. What an eye-opener to be informed that the only thing separating them from fire coming down from heaven was these righteous people. To drive the point home further, Samuel tells them, “When ye shall cast out the righteous from among you, then shall ye be ripe for destruction” (verse 14).

For any of the righteous people hearing the words of Samuel, it had to make them feel good to know that God valued them enough to spare a wicked city just because they were living there.

Also, in case they were wondering why God was allowing the wicked to seemingly get away with their wickedness, this gave them the insight that He was in fact sparing the righteous and, in the process, extending a righteous man’s reward to the Nephites, which gave them extra time to repent of their sins and save their city.

Hopefully, we can see the parallels to our own time. With sin abounding all about us, we may wonder sometimes why God isn’t raining down destruction upon the land. Although we know there will eventually be destruction as part of the plan of God, let’s be thankful that God is sparing us at this time. And, for the people who are being spared purely as a result of receiving a righteous man’s reward, let’s pray for them and do our best to share the gospel with them such that as many as possible can take advantage of the opportunity to repent and receive salvation in the time that remains.

Bio Jerry New

This article has undergone ministry review and approval.


  • Brother Jerry Valenti

    Brother Jerry lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with wife Sister Pat and daughter Maria.

1 Comment

  1. Linda Scolaro

    I always remember Brother Nick Pietrangelo say “They are lucky that I am on that plane.” He knew it was the prayers of safety that protected the entire plane.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further Reading

Let the Dead Bury Their Dead

I heard the following story about 20 years ago. It may or may not be true, but it provides a good intro for this article. In the late 1990s, the most popular play on Broadway was the stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King.” It was very difficult to get tickets...

Read More

You Never Know What You’re Going to Catch

Jesus concludes a day of sharing parables with this one: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but...

Read More

Never Miss a New Article

Subscribe to Our Email List
Sign up and get every new blog post sent straight to your inbox so you always have the day’s devotional at your fingertips.

We never share your email address with anyone for any reason, and we use it only to send you Gospel Blog emails. Just articles, not ads!

Your Story for God’s Glory

Share Your Testimony on Miracle Monday

We devote Miracle Monday to sharing miracle stories. From finding a lost wedding ring to healing cancer on the spot, Jesus Christ has done it all, big and small.

And we want to hear about what He’s done for you.

The Gospel Blog Is Open for Submissions

We encourage devotional-style or scripture-based articles in the ballpark of 500 words. We are open to any topic that glorifies God and unites the Church.