Day 13 – 23 Days of Thanksgiving – Be careful


I’ve been talking a lot during this series about the small things. About how we can do very little things that could change the world. At church this weekend (sermon isn’t posted yet, I will link to it when it is), God spoke to me in a way he often does, giving me information or a word right when I needed to hear it. I think it’s a message we should all heed especially as we get more and more into serving.

Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before men to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. -Matthew 6:1-2

In simple terms, when we serve, God lifts us up. When we are humble, God holds us in high regard.

Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you. -James 4:10

And the more God lifts us up, the more others will see. And when we start craving the praise of others more than the praise of God, that is when we run into trouble.

The word hypocrite that is used in Matthew 6:2 comes from the Greek word hupokritēs which means actor. When we act are acting in hypocrisy we are claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which our own behavior does not conform to…we are acting.

The money quote I got from our pastor during the sermon was this:

Don’t spend so much time trying to act like a good Christian that you’re not one.

So in simple terms, how can we live this out?

Do the small things.
So here I go with the small things again. The small things we can do often very much under the radar and they will have a huge impact. On my white board I have on the wall in my home office, I have the lyrics to the Newsboys song That’s How You Change the World written there (been there for a few years now, may be more permanent than I imagine)

It’s the prayer in an empty room
Little things we do when nobody’s around
A hand reaching out to heart in doubt
It’s the smallest spark that can light the dark
That’s how you change the world!

Don’t blab to the world
So you’re out there doing good things for people. Well today we won’t blast the announcement with trumpets, but we do something that is even worse. We share it all over social media. We make posts on these different venues, probably multiples of them and we are essentially saying “Look at me, look at what we did for these people.”

I am very conscious of this myself. I love to write, I love God, thus this blog. This is my personal outlet of those passions. But guess what. I write a lot about doing these small things, helping out others…but am I actually doing them? Am I really out there doing the things I’m writing about? God convicts me almost every post I make. Am I keeping the focus on God? Am I focused on the glory that posts may or may not give to God? Those are the things I think of every time I write.

Be Careful
Lastly, just be careful. Be careful that we are giving God the glory. It really doesn’t matter that people may look at you, it matters if you start craving that more than you crave God’s favor. As I mentioned earlier, the more you humble yourself and serve, the more you are lifted up by God. This puts you in sight of others. Are we more worried about being an actor, to be seen by others? Or are we focused on how we are seen by God? For God sees the inside, our motives and those will make an eternal difference.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” – 1 Samuel 16:7

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