“Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others.” ~ Philippians 2:3-4
“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others 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. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:1-2
Yesterday, Rebekah L posted about giving God the credit for everything we do. It resonated with me. I thought about all the times that I did something, at work or school or even at church, in order to be recognized by others. My deeds were good, but the heart behind them? Not so much. And I thought of how many times in my life I’d felt cheated or slighted by one thing or another. So often we feel like we don’t get what we deserve. It’s frustrating.
The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that it’s actually a good thing. First of all, it’s humbling, which is always ultimately to our good. But more than that, we are called to look at everybody else as being more important than ourselves. Jesus did in fact. He didn’t proclaim Himself as the savior of the world. In fact He even tried not to be noticed when He traveled sometimes. He worked tirelessly, healing and preaching and praying – to the point where those around Him would counsel Him to take a break. While here on earth, He counted everyone as more important than Himself – He saw their needs as greater than His own. And He certainly wasn’t rewarded for it. Unless, of course, you count a crown of thorns and execution as a reward. And yet, look at the eternal glory He’s getting now. And do you really think He’s up there saying “Take that, people. I’m a king now and it’s me you’ll answer to on judgement day – so there!”? Probably not.
But it does go to show that any credit or earthly reward we could get for our deeds pales in comparison to rewards from our Father. We’re told that God sees what is done in secret, and He’ll reward you. Isn’t that enough? I mean, do you really care that you’re not recognized by another person when you know that you’re recognized by God? We’re also told that when we work for the accolades, that’s as much as we’ll ever be rewarded. Basically, our deeds get rewarded once. It can either be by God or by people. It might sting in the moment, but I know which one I ultimately choose.
So while I’m here, while we’re all here, we’re meant to be the laborers in the background. We’re meant to be working to bless others and spread the message and truth of Jesus in all that we do. It may be exactly that attitude that shows other people that there’s something more, something else we live for. Maybe that’s how God is using you as a vessel in this moment!