“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.”
Recognition is a reward when others see or hear of me be generous or “righteous”. Others admire me and say nice things about me, and according to Jesus, this recognition is my full reward.
But imagine getting recognition from God, having His attention, getting His reward for us! This reward is so much bigger and better, and this is what I should be after. When I do righteous deeds in secret, give in secret, pray in secret, serve in secret, not seeking the approval or praise of men, then God sees and rewards me.
Personally, I always thought that being motivated by rewards was improper, bad theology, and not appropriate for Christians. “I should only be motivated by love,” I thought, and yet Jesus comes along and says that I should be motivated by the reward my God has for me. And it is a great, big, eternal reward. Jesus tells us that you and I must seek God’s approval and attention alone.
Self-evaluation time: Do I practice righteousness for others to see? Do I make sure my giving and serving are recognized and rewarded by others? Do I see praise from others?
All too often, yes. Yes I do. Do you? WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT THIS?
I must confess, repent and turn from this constant need to be praised and recognized and thought well of by others. Only God’s opinion needs to matter to me. Stop boasting and telling others of your good deeds, and work for God’s praise and recognition alone. Do your best good deeds in secret so no one can know about them. Don’t tell anyone. Then only God will know, and He will reward you.
What does “God’s recognition” look like? Colossians 3:23-24 says that it is and inheritance. Galatians 6:9 says that it is reaping a harvest. 1 Timothy :17-19 says that it is true life. Psalm 37:4 says we will receive the delights of our hearts. John 3:1 says that we will receive eternal life.
Help me to seek my reward from You alone. Help Your recognition be my motivation, and let the praise and rewards from men pale in cheap comparison to the richness of Your reward. Let me have true life, not a false life. Let my inheritance be an eternal one, not a temporary one. Let me not be ashamed on judgement day, and escape as one running through flames. Help me to have eternal rewards from You. And please let me hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” when I die, from You, Lord God.