No to showing off, yes to genuine service.
Before anything else, let me just say: work done is so satisfying
Today I’m grateful for every work done. I want to thank God for giving me the strength to finish off an article that I was a little afraid to work on. Well, I feared it won’t be as good as it should be.
Nonetheless, God is faithful. I’ve been keeping off the writing for this particular client. Thankfully, God gave me the guts to really get it done so I could be free after every sunset.
And now, to the rubric.
It’s about the motive, the aim
The point of today’s reading is to take self out and let love be the aim when serving others.
When we give just so people could praise us, it’s really inauthentic. We’re not being genuine at all.
Giving and serving others only becomes a real blessing to ourselves when the deed comes from a pure motive.
Again, this purity isn’t something we can manufacture. It is God’s work, which is quite the point of yesterday’s reflection, too.
Christ’s own words make His meaning plain, that in acts of charity the aim should not be to secure praise and honor from men.
Real godliness never prompts an effort at display.
Those who desire words of praise and flattery, and feed upon them as a sweet morsel, are Christians in name only.Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 80
Jesus doesn’t do good for display
When Jesus helps you, He does it not so He could boast about it and get people to praise Him.
Now, if you think about that again for a moment, you might go…
Wait, then why are we told to praise God every day?
Is God, then, an egomaniac?
Or, you could also see God with new eyes through any of the following Ty Gibson and David Asscherick books.
But before you get to that presentation or the books, I’ll give you some hints.
God is love, and love is never self-centered. By definition, love is other-centered.
The opening paragraph of our reading today says the following:
The words of Christ on the mount were an expression of that which had been the unspoken teaching of His life, but which the people had failed to comprehend.
They could not understand how, having such great power, He neglected to use it in securing what they regarded as the chief good.
Their spirit and motives and methods were the opposite of His.
While they claimed to be very jealous for the honor of the law, self-glory was the real object which they sought;
and Christ would make it manifest to them that the lover of self is a transgressor of the law.Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 79
In Jesus’ life, He was manifesting what other-centered love is.
It’s the opposite of self-glory.
Other-centered love simply wants to bless others.
I can’t help but be amazed at the Person of Jesus. He is Love Personified.
And because of that, Jesus also shuns flattery and pride.
Glory in Jesus alone
Knowing how much of our motives are woven with self, the safest case for us is to ask in prayer for Jesus’ help.
Even the act of glorying in the Other—in Jesus alone—could be challenging for us.
Again—and we can’t just overemphasize this—this work of transformation is the work of God’s Spirit.
Our part is to surrender willingly if we really do desire the outcome.
So, dear God, please just help us go through this work of Yours.
To give in answer to their need
Now, how do we take this reading into practice?
Hmmm. I think it’s already very practical in the first place.
Every time we see a need, we answer it according to the capacity we got from God.
And, we shall do that without aiming for any hearts and likes and recognition from people.
Ours is to simply operate by love, as Jesus would.
We are to come from a place of help, as love always will.
God will take care of the reward
Interestingly enough, God made a promise that He will reward us openly.
I’m not yet sure how He’ll do that. And, I’m not going to speculate.
After all, aren’t we supposed to not think about the reward while doing good?
Yup, as discussed.
So, at the end of the day, God will transform us into creatures of love.
And that means, that whenever we see a need, His own Spirit will prompt us to help the person.
We shall help out of love, and God will take care of the rest of our needs.