The merit and virtue of genuine bodhicitta are inconceivable but even relative bodhicitta, which is more contrived in nature, produces very significant merit. The Mahayana sutras say that even if one does not have sincere bodhicitta, just the pretence of having bodhicitta—putting on an act of having it—even that generates its own merit. That affected bodhicitta would have merit seems on the surface very difficult to understand but the reason that the merit of bodhicitta is so immense is that even if we are only pretending to have it then it is still possible to be sowing a positive dharmic seed in our consciousness. Even if we spend our entire lives just cultivating bodhicitta, this time is still worth it. Bodhicitta serves as a truly excellent foundation for everything else that comes after. Once we have bodhicitta, many other things take care of themselves.
Depicted from "Guide to the Four Preliminary Practices 3 - Part 3" April, 2015, Vancouver, Canada