Matthew 6:1-4 (ESV)
6:1 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
It is so easy for us to fall into the trap of seeking the praise of others and a pat on the back for serving God. We can even illicit a response of sympathy for how much time we spend serving our Lord. We might might speak about our many commitments and how much time we sacrifice to keep them. People are impressed with our balancing act and yet feel bad for how much we’ve taken on. We thrive on the attention. More often that not, this attitude happens subtly.
Yet we are called by Jesus to follow and serve him without seeking the applause of others. We shall love our neighbor secretly so that the attention is not drawn to ourselves but to God. This is a difficult task but one we must work toward more intentionally. Think how you can love your neighbor in secret this week. Maybe a friend or co-worker is struggling financially. Maybe someone you know needs an encouraging word or continual prayer. What you do in secret will be a blessing to someone and honoring to the Lord.