Often people ask me what if I somehow discovered that there was no life after death, would I turn my back on Christ teaching and Christianities guiding principles and I have always replied simply. Even if there were no heaven, even if there was no eternal reward for the good would still choose to try to be good.
To me being good, caring for others, and the other guiding principles that Christ proclaimed are good in-and-of-themselves. What I mean by this is even without any reward I would still choose to be good and kind to others because as humans it is are earthly duty to try to improve the world we live in. It is up to us weather we live in a good and kind community.
Deeper still I refuse the idea, absolutely, of doing good in expectation that anything good will be bestowed on the giver. If you believe something is good, something is right, and then you must act accordingly, no matter how much you suffer. I believe its good to be kind and to help people; though I fairly infrequently receive direct aid via this belief I still follow it for I believe its the right thing to do and to do the right thing is always right.
Yes I know that the argument is tautological but think about this: Imagine a world where evil was victorious, where good deeds where only punished and those who chose the path of good where reduced to second class citizens. In such a world would doing good not still be the right thing to do, would those who believed that goodness still had a place even here have no choice but to make their stand.
I argues that even if every good deed cost me a thousand time the good it did for other the cost would still be worthy of payment, for we are called to be better then animals, better then self serving individuals, better, even, then those around us. It is my view that goodness is not contextual; you are not good just because you are not as evil as your neighbour but because you place your self at the service of others because you care and assist others, even at a great cost to yourself.
We must thank the lord for heaven and for sending Christ to open its doors but we should never act just to impress Christ but because we know that Goodness is the gift and the purpose of our heavenly father. So even if goodness had no earthly reward it would still be good because it pleases our heavenly farther and even if there was no heavenly father goodness would still be valued as a prized fragment of what makes humanity human.