Just Showing Off

How do we do good deeds? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

A month or so ago I remember making a post on Facebook about how I can see advertisements sometimes where companies talk about how they give to charity. It can also include incentives like “If you buy such and such from us, we will give XYZ to charity.” Generally, when I hear that kind of thing, it’s really a reason for me to not want to support. After all, you’re wanting to make a profit, which is fine, and your selling point is that you will give to charity? I should also buy your product or service because you are such a great company that gives to charity?

It reminds me of the verse I’m looking at today in Matthew 6.

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.

A year or so ago it was a December and Allie was in a hospital and so it was just me. I went to the church I go to and everyone could tell I was bummed out in Sunday School. After the class, the pastor asked me to stay behind and he wanted to share something with me. He told me that a donation had been made to Allie and I for our usage. I thought that this was nice and wondered how much it could be. $50? $100?

Nope. $5,000.

To this day, we don’t know for sure who gave it. We have ideas, but whoever it is wanted it to be a secret donation. They didn’t give so we could go and praise them. They gave because they wanted to support us and that gift was extremely helpful to us.

This is not to say you can never let your generosity be known, but you have to ask why you are letting it be known. What is the end goal in all of it? Do you want people to know that you’re just so awesome? Perhaps you share who you are just because you want the other person to know and to know that they have a friend in you.

At the same time, Jesus doesn’t condemn doing good deeds because it will give you something good in the end as well. After all, He says do these things so you will be seen by your Father in Heaven. If you don’t do them that way, you will get no reward. This means that if you do do them the right way, you will get a reward.

It’s really interesting that Jesus still appeals to our self-interest. What He is wanting us to seek is the honor of God. There’s something someone once told me that has stuck with me. Jesus talks about going to a banquet and taking the lowest seat so you will be invited to a better one and says if you humble yourself you will be exalted and vice-versa. Notice this though. Everyone is humbled and everyone is exalted. We just choose what order they come in.

We are to do good deeds, of course, but if we really do them just so other people will think highly of us, that negates the reward we can get for them. The other person can still benefit, but it’s not the same. I encourage you that insofar as it’s possible, try to do your good deeds secretly so other people don’t know.

If you can’t avoid that, it’s understandable, but still, check your motives. Seek the purest of motives. If wrong motives are in you and you still know the right thing to do, do it anyway and ask God to purify your motives.

In Christ,
Nick Peters