Is it just me? I often hear my dad's voice in my head. He’s usually reminding me not to get a big head. That was his infamous way of making sure none of his seven kids thought too highly of themselves.
He was from that Greatest Generation—serving in World War II — doing the jobs that needed done without talking much about it later. His admonition stunted me though. True, I didn’t get a big head, but it also made me a bit timid to put myself out there when it came to servant evangelism.
Often, before I could step out and do an outreach, I would be confronted with a fear that I would look like I was doing things for the wrong reasons and drawing attention to myself instead of the Lord. It’s very difficult for someone like me to share God’s love in a practical way because we get tripped up on our “real” motives.
My favorite next door neighbors moved a couple weeks back. The new neighbors have yet to move in. I did catch a glimpse of the wife shoveling the driveway two weeks ago as she was making a way for the painters or carpet layers or some one to gain entry. I was so busy helping my daughter get some major projects done that I didn't have time to go over and introduce myself or lend a hand. I felt bad because I'm sure she felt on display there in the cul-de-sac where every eye in five houses can watch you work away from the comfort of their couches. Did she wonder if we were a bunch of snots for not helping her out? It bothered me all week.
So last Friday after another round of snow I felt like I should go shovel the driveway for the next time they showed up to get into the house. But I was paralyzed. I didn't want "to do my works before men (or the four neighbors)" and get my reward here on earth. I almost stayed inside. Stupid, I know, but this is how ingrained this admonition had become. I checked out the windows, determined that I was home before every one else, and decided to go for it. I grabbed my iPod, clicked on a sermon podcast, grabbed the shovel and headed for the neighbor's driveway.
How amusing...the podcast was dealing with my very issue from Matthew 6. It was such a God moment as the Lord reassured me that He knows my motives and my heart. Just because I was doing a 'good work' in sight of the neighbors didn't necessarily mean I was doing it to be seen by them. If I do good deeds to be seen by others and then am seen by others I have the reward I am looking for. If I do good out of obedience to what I felt was God's prompting then my reward will come from Him when I obey. Big, big difference. It was a very freeing moment as God taught me that it’s ok to be seen when doing good; it’s just not ok to do good to be seen.
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