Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Jesus, on many occasions, instructed His followers to be careful not to emulate the ways of the Pharisees and scribes, the super religious men and fiercest opponents of His day. In particular, He advised us to be careful not to do our “acts of righteousness” before others. I suppose that there are times when others may notice our good deeds, but Jesus was referring to the things these religious folks did on a daily basis. Christ said they did them to be seen of men. When they deposited their alms in the poor box, they took a trumpet player with them to play while they were doing it. Whenever they were called to say a public prayer, they said the longest prayers possible. They did many other flamboyant things I won’t mention but you get the picture. One distinctive verse we would do well to memorize and act upon is Matthew 6:3, where Jesus said, But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Though He was pinpointing the act of giving, it is clear he was implying doing that or anything else to be seen of others.
Because it is a human tendency to seek the approval or blessing of others, we must rely upon the grace God gives in order to resist the temptation. I’m sure you all know some folks who are always telling others where they went and what they did, especially now in the social media age. However, when they especially point out the good deeds they did for others, watch out. I’m sure you have even sensed it during “testimony time” in church where certain members often testify about those they helped, visited, prayed for, or even won to Christ. I remember one person in particular, who after the Lord healed or answered someone’s petition, would get up and say it was because she was praying for him or her. In most cases these people mean well and don’t realize how they are coming across to others. Still, we should be careful to avoid such pitfalls.
Many of us, and especially those who serve the Lord, long to hear Him say on the day we stand before Him, these words: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Meanwhile, it is well if we just go about our business, do what we can, and keep quiet about it. If others notice it and say something nice about us, its okay, as long as we weren’t trying to be noticed. Proverbs 27:2 says, Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. As the Nike commercial says, “Just do it.”
Memory verse for the week: (Psalm 118:6) The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what man can do unto me.