In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus provides a hidden camera view into God's heart with his comments regarding the final judgment: "When you visited them (prisoners, orphans, and hungry) you visited me—enter into the joy of your reward" (Matthew 25:35-37, NIV). Jesus makes what seemed obvious to him, apparent to his followers by pointing out that it counted to him when they anonymously cared for other human beings and that he noticed it even if they didn't. From Jesus' perspective, seemingly unremarkable and very ordinary attempts to love others really do get his attention.
I'm not suggesting that we earn our way into heaven by doing good things. But to say that our good deeds don't get God's attention would be to deny a common-sense reading of Jesus' statement. Those Jesus rewarded weren't keeping track of their acts of kindness, but apparently Jesus was. They weren't looking to score points, but he rewarded them anyway.
It's interesting to note that the religious folks of Jesus' day ...1