When giving to the needy, when praying, and when fasting, Jesus told us to do them in secret. We say we want to inspire others and it’s the reason why we let people see what good we do. Jesus is not actually referring to the actions we do, but to what motivates us in doing them. Firstly, we have to recognize who Jesus Christ is so that we may accept in our hearts the words he has spoken to his disciples.
The Lord also mentioned something about the reward people receive from their acts of righteousness. There are two kinds of rewards that we should be mindful of. One is the reward from our Father in heaven and the other is the reward from men.The statement, “Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full” was mentioned 3 times. Each was from giving to the needy, in praying, and in fasting. The Lord said they do it to be seen by others. They give to the needy, they pray and fast–to be honored by men. We hunger for honor and respect from people. We long for recognition. We value our reputation. We work hard to build up a good image to portray in front of many people. We get hurt and turn to a defensive mode when our reputation is being targeted. Obviously, it’s not bad to do good, but what Jesus instructs us to do is to be careful and do them secretly. Why? Is it only because of the reward we’ll get from our Father in heaven? I believe there’s more–He doesn’t want us to get hooked and be swallowed up into the pleasures of this world, because once we do, it’ll be hard for us to hear His voice. Once we treasure the pleasures in this world, our hearts will be focused here as well. The Lord wants us to store up treasures in heaven and not here on earth. Here, the reward is temporary but the reward from our Father in heaven is eternal. When we do our acts of righteousness in secret, our light will shine naturally and others will see it and will glorify God. We don’t need to put efforts just to be recognized.
It is true that God is the only one who knows what’s truly inside our hearts. He knows what our intentions are. But let us be aware that He also sent people to guide us, and God entrusted them with the gift of discernment to fully understand these things. They’ll do what is good for us. It is because of the system of this world that keeps us tempted to seek honor from men. But the Lord knows, when we seek for honor of our own, we work hard for our reputation–a reputation that’s empty. And when we do, we become hypocrites. We announce it with trumpets in the synagogues and on the streets to be honored by men; we do it standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others; we disfigure our faces to show others that we are working very hard. In the end, all these things won’t matter anymore. We just worry too much about everything in our lives. We always think about getting rich and famous one day in doing God’s work. But why should we care about those things which are temporary when we know that there’s more?
If we are for Him, we won’t seek honor for ourselves anymore. If we see His glory and splendor, we won’t value our own reputation anymore. We will do what he told us to do without a care in the world if we get rich and famous or not because we’re not doing it for ourselves anymore. We’re doing it for Him alone.
..”Then our Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward us.”
– Matthew 6