Matthew 6:1-4 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
Wow! Apparently, humans have been behaving the same way for a long time. Jesus observed a group of people doing the right things for all the wrong reasons. Jesus did not ignore that! He spoke with clear and direct words. It was not only the Pharisees that needed calling out. I need it as well. When I pause and consider my actions, then remember Jesus words, conviction comes. I have to wrestle with the reasons for which I do the things that I do. Repentantly, I confess, I want my good deeds to be recognized by people. I does not have to be this way! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I desire to walk in humility. The praise of people is a crummy reward compared with the reward of the Father. One more thing.
Clearly, as stated above, Jesus words impact individuals. But what about churches and other Christian institutions? Is it possible for our churches and organizations to do good deeds in order to be recognized by others? When a church does outreach and serve events, what impact to these verses have on the nuts and bolts of the event? I hate to break it to you but Jesus does not honor marketing passes. Churches are called to function with institutional and missional humility. Slapping the name of a local church on everything we do seems like a good idea. But I wonder? Would Jesus turn to us and say "Church beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them." It is quite possible, an institution can receive the praise of people and yet be unknown by God. We should never settle for that! Institutions should want a greater reward than public recognition.
I don't write this today to be correction but to bring encouragement. It has been an honor for me to observe your humility. I am thankful that our congregation desires the name of Jesus to be honored more than the name of our church! As we continue to grow lets keep our hearts in check. May our hearts burn for Jesus to advance His church more than they do for our church to advance. Our reward will be great!