“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 NIV
I remember a drama I saw at James City Community Church in Williamsburg, VA. They had several people sitting in a row of chairs on the stage. An usher was passing the offering plate across the row. As he passed the plate, the person whose turn it was to donate would tell you what he or she was thinking. One woman felt guilty, so she was throwing everything she had in the plate, shoes, earrings, etc. One person had nothing, but placed an empty envelope in the plate so no one would know. And one person had a big check, literally an over-sized check. As he put his offering in the plate, he made sure to show the check to everyone. He wanted everyone to know how much money he gave. Today’s verse addresses that guy, the one who wants everyone to know all He is doing for God.
People like the big giver have to list everything they are doing all of the time. They do this to let you know how “holy” they are. But who are they really trying to impress? They aren’t impressing God, in truth, they aren’t impressing others either. People really don’t care what other people are doing, unless it directly affects them. And they aren’t serving God, according to Matthew. They are not storing up riches in heaven, they’re performing for the wrong audience. They want people to applaud them for what they’re doing, they aren’t satisfied with the applause of just One. Living for an audience of One requires no applause.
Living for an audience of One requires no applause.
Giving credit where credit is deserved can be one of the hardest things we do. When we do our good deeds in private, we’re allowing God to have the glory. We’re giving Him the credit for what He has enabled us to do. We can do nothing without Him. He gave us the air we breathe, if we can’t breathe, we can’t live. God is the author of life. Yet we take the credit for the work God has done.
When we perform our good deeds in front of others, we’re taking the focus off of God and putting it on ourselves. We’re waiting for the compliments from other people telling us how great we are for all we do. But we couldn’t do anything if it wasn’t for the blessings God gives us. We’re forgetting that part of the story. We’re not giving credit where credit is due. Live for an audience of One today, let Him be your reward.
Question of the Day:
What audience are you performing for today?
Further Reading: Genesis 16:1-18:15 NIV, Matthew 6:1-24 NIV, Psalm 7:1-17 NIV, Proverbs 2:1-5 NIV