PLAYING TO AN AUDIENCE OF ONE
MATTHEW 6:1-5 NKJ
6 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
In this passage, Jesus is addressing a condition common to religion and common to man. The propensity to perform in order to be seen and applauded by others.
It starts young. Little children will do things to get attention. There is often a willingness to accept negative attention by doing wrong things. As long as we get attention.
Jesus said, don't do it. When you do good deeds, which would include giving, don't do it for the attention. Don't do good things to be seen and applauded by others. If that is the case, then their applause is all the reward you get.
It takes a measure of faith to do good and do it only to be seen by God. That's playing to an audience of One. But when we do that, we set ourselves up to be rewarded by God. His rewards are better and longer-lasting. Man's applause fades quickly.
Over the years, we have seen some very large gifts come into The Ark. Some a million dollars and over. In almost every case, the donor has requested anonymity. They did it for the Lord not to be seen.
But this plays out in smaller things also. If you get really chapped that you are not recognized, it would be good to ask yourself why? Why so upset? Who are you doing this for? Please don't think for a moment that I don't understand what I am talking about. I am speaking from a wealth of experience of having to recalibrate my heart. Having to back up and question my motive. It is definitely a human trait to want to be seen. But again, Jesus said to do what you do to be seen by God. Don't forget the last part of Jesus' words that God will reward you. Some translations say reward you openly. When God rewards, it will eventually show up. So, keep doing good and keep praying. You are playing for an audience of One. The most important One.
Help me, Father, live and walk before You, not man. Help me understand how to play for an audience of only You.