There are so many ways in today’s world to be seen, to put yourself out there, to have what you do recorded, and to get publicity, whether good or bad. With social media being what it is, it is easy for us to be tempted to step into the spotlight and advertise what we’re doing or how we’re feeling. Social media isn’t really social. A google search of the definition of social tells us it refers to the interaction of one organism with another. Instead of doing this, social media is turning more into self-promotion each day in hopes of rising to the top rather than interacting with one another.
The thing is, even though the world is constantly watching and there seems to be hardly anything that can be done in secret any more we must try to do so. I don’t mean we need to be closet Christians, hiding our beliefs so others can’t see. What I mean is, we must focus on the tasks we are given to help and love those around us rather than doing something in hopes of gaining recognition. The truest form of giving is doing the act with no expectation of getting anything in return.
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.”Matthew 6:1
If we give into the temptation to spread it throughout the world that we helped someone with this or we gave this to aid that program/person we become boastful. We are attempting to inflate our own ego, our own pride, and it will be our downfall. Even if we can pull off humbleness on the outside like a mask to keep the world from seeing our pride, the Lord knows our hearts. Pride–even when hidden internally–is still destructive.
“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.”Proverbs 16:18-19
We cannot even proclaim the Gospel with self-pride in our hearts, for self-pride seeks to be the one who saves. Yet, it is only Jesus who can save. To proclaim the Gospel with self-pride is to do so without love for the neighbor and we become nothing more that clanging bells and resounding gongs. The only moments where one can boast of oneself is in relation to weakness, for when we are weak He is shown to be strong. It is He who gives us strength in our weakest hours. Even Paul boasted in his weaknesses and his persecutions because God was the only reason he made it through all of it. God was given all the glory in Paul’s story; Paul didn’t receive any of it nor did he want it. This is the only time boastfulness is acceptable.
“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”2 Corinthians 11:30
“Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord”.”1 Corinthians 1:31
In this same way, we should not judge what others in our spiritual families are doing, for we know not what they do when we cannot see them. The person you’ve noticed the past few weeks who you know to be a dedicated church member of eight years seems not to be serving in any area on Sundays nor on Wednesdays. They come, hear the message, fellowship for a while, and then leave, seeming to not have helped anywhere at all. However, what you may not see or know is that throughout the week they are working for the Lord. Mondays they’re visiting the hospital to drop in on someone who has no one. Tuesdays they’re buying clothes for the homeless shelters. Thursdays they’re helping at soup kitchens. Fridays they’re helping their elderly neighbor get their groceries. Saturdays their visiting their family, catching up on chores and errands, paying bills, and–maybe–squeezing in an hour or so with some friends. All around a forty hour work week. Sundays and Wednesdays are their days of rest.
In Beth Moore’s ‘Entrusted’ study, Moore references Romans 16:1-19. She says Paul probably pointed out each person’s deeds in thanks to show each person has a purpose. There are times when we are tempted to look down at or get angry with someone who doesn’t seem to be serving much. However, we each have our tasks from the Lord and we each have different skills sets gifted to us or being taught to us in preparation for what is to come. Thus, we cannot rudely ask in judgement, ‘well, what do you do to help out here?’. No, we must encourage and ask if they would like to serve here or there. There’s a large possibility if they are already serving in a place(s) and can’t take on more, they’ll let you know.
Again, do not boast and show off what all you are doing to serve the Lord our God. Nor are we to judge those who we haven’t seen serve. As we care for the things God has given us we must be willing to be the unseen hand. If we are purposefully seen by a large audience, we will get the glory and the greatest reward for our actions will be lost. However, an unseen act or a gift given anonymously and with a humble heart will point the glory to God and our reward will be grand. May the Lord be glorified in all that we do. May His light and love shine brightly throughout this dark world.
“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”Matthew 6:2-4