Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 24, 2015
Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. Matthew 6:1
Discretion is the better part of doing good deeds. Why? One reason is that it does not bring attention to the giver but to the motive behind the gift. If I am the main attraction of a good act, then praise from men is my reward. But if I am serving others for an audience of One, then the Almighty’s pleasure is my reward. His smile is enough remuneration for my good works. If not, I fall prey to the need for people’s praise as fuel for my faith.
Hypocrites have to be stroked by someone other than their Savior Jesus. However, mature followers of Christ are satisfied to know their Lord is delighted with their discreet deeds. Jesus warns that our Christian duties of giving, praying, and fasting be done in secret so we do not become like those who wear their religion to impress others. Moreover, when your deeds are discreet, you do well for yourself, and you benefit. Your secret service serves your soul in prayer, your body in fasting, and your emotions in giving.
Vainglory replaces God’s glory as you venture into doing your acts of righteousness outside of the Lord’s limelight. It is especially tempting for Christian celebrities to be lured into thinking they are the coming attraction, because they forgot God’s favor. The disciples must have struggled with this rock star complex as they traveled with the miracle-worker Jesus. One’s pride in jockeying for the best position is spiritual hypocrisy.
Jesus addressed this attitude that craves attention. “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:43–45). Thus, our discreet service leads to greatness for God.
Therefore, be content, knowing your reward comes from Christ. Let sincere words of appreciation from others be an extra blessing you do not expect. Indeed, the accolades of others pale in comparison to the peace that comes in knowing you did your best for Jesus’ sake. The satisfaction of serving secretly on behalf of your Lord is reward enough in this life. Pure religion privately reaches out to the least of these in love and gratitude to God.
“If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:26–27).
Prayer: How can I be discreet in doing good deeds? What is my motivation for my acts of kindness?
Related Readings: Genesis 15:1; Psalm 17:5; Luke 16:25; Hebrews 11:6
Post/Tweet this today: Vainglory replaces God’s glory when our acts of righteousness are outside of the Lord’s limelight. #discreetdeeds #wisdomhunters
Taken from the December January 24th reading in Seeking Daily the Heart of God v.2
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