Matthew 6:5-8 (ESV)
5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
We all know a person who loves to be praised and in the spotlight. Someone who does the right thing only because there is a “reward” in the end. They may look great on the “outside” but once you get to know them they are nothing like you expected. On the other hand, you probably know some people who give up their time helping and serving others, never asking for anything in return. As Christians, we need to examine ourselves to see which type we are, are we serving wholeheartedly or for praise from others?
Jesus tells some parables in Matthew 6 about these two types of people. The first is about a man who is giving to the needy, that’s great right? Not the way he does it. He goes and announces it with trumpets and tells everyone what he has given to charity. Jesus tells us that man will lose his reward in heaven. The second is about another man, this time he is praying on the street corner, making sure everyone hears him. He hopes they say, “Look at him, he must truly be godly because he speaks so well”. What Jesus says is, “That is his only reward”, man’s praise.
Both men are doing good works, but let’s talk about how they’re being done. They are doing it not for God’s praise or to glorify His name, they are doing it for man’s praise, to make themselves look good. Jesus tells us, “No one can serve two masters”, we either serve God or ourselves, we can’t do both. Do your actions bring praise to the one who truly deserves it, or to make yourself look better? Are you doing something for God or to make yourself look godly?
Dear Lord, help us to examine our self with Your eyes. Help us to do good things to bring You glory, and not for our gain. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.