To God Be the Glory

“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. ”  Matthew 6:1

This verse was part of the sermon text last Sunday.  Is the point that we should always hide our good deeds, doing them only in secret?  Well, that can’t be the case because it contradicts another verse in Matthew 5:16:

“In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

The point, as always goes to what is in your heart, your motivation.  When we do good deeds, if our heart is in the right place, we do not want to be recognized as a “good person,”  we want God to be recognized as our good and gracious Father.  This lively hymn by Fanny Crosby expresses it well.

Love and Sacrifice

The other day, my husband asked me to pick up his dry-cleaning on the way home. Jokingly, I said ‘well, what do I get’ ??

I think we all suffer from this occasional (ok, sometimes constant) selfishness. It seems natural to hope that any effort I put into anything will result in some sort of reward for myself. With this internalized mindset, it is hard to wrap my head around the idea of a God who wishes for us to sacrifice our time, energy, and worldly possessions to others without requesting anything in return. How do we, as sinful beings, accomplish this without feeling constantly aggrieved?

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.” John 15:12-14

I think it helps me to remember that we are not doing our good works for men but for God, that he should be pleased. After all, Jesus died on the cross for our sins. What bigger sacrifice can there be? When he rose from the dead, did he turn to the disciples and say, “sooo…..what do I get”? I doubt it.

I’ll try to remember this the next time I’m asked to pick up the dry-cleaning. In fact, maybe instead of being asked to do something, I will simply offer to do it. When I consider all the sacrifices that my Lord has made for me, sacrificing for others in return does not seem like such a bad deal after all.   🙂