“Take care! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired, because then you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.”
A few years back the Evangelical world was made aware of an amazing gesture: Pastor Rick Warren, the author of The Purpose Driven Life, returned 25 years of his salary to the church because of the enormous success of his book. The information didn’t “leak” and Pastor Warren was open about sharing the details of what he and his wife had done. Perhaps when Rick gets to the Judgment Seat of Christ and mentions this great act of kindness, the Lord will look at him and say, “I don’t know what you are talking about, Rick.”
It’s easy to cast dispersions at big-time leaders like Rick Warren, but what about regular Christians like you and me? Have you ever done a “good deed” and then lapped up the positive attention it brought you? Remember Jeremiah 17:9 – The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
I’ve certainly had my own struggles with this. Back in 2007 I was the main local leader here in Raleigh, NC for a Harvest Crusade with Pastor Greg Laurie…3 nights; 41,500 people; 4,000 volunteers; 225 churches; David Crowder Band/Toby Mac/Third Day; 3,000 professions of faith. WOW! I really struggled with my pride over those three nights. Were my efforts all about Steve’s glory, or all about God’s? I had to ask the question. I hope I got it right.
If you can’t do it for God and God alone…if you can’t take yourself out of the equation completely…if you can’t ignore whether you get credit for it or not…don’t do it. I like how Spurgeon summed this up:
“You cannot expect to be paid twice, if therefore you take your reward in the applause of men, who give you a high character for generosity, you cannot expect to have any reward from God. We ought to have a single eye to God’s accepting what we give, and to have little or no thought of what man may say concerning our charitable gifts.”