Matthew 6:1 – “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” NASU
The whole of Matthew Chapter Six can be viewed as a basic guide for ‘Godly Living.’ It covers a wide gamut of topics and areas of life that there is a tendency and temptation to allow a motive other than godliness to reign. I begin with verse one because it opens the door and deals with the human ego and reveals how easily we can allow something other than service for service to determine what we do in life.
I’m sure that each of us is aware of people who take great pains to ensure that everyone notices what they do. Their acts of benevolence are done in such a manner so as to call attention to them. I’ve witnessed church splits and ministry divisions whose roots were directly connected to ‘human ego’ and ‘jealousy’. One of the reasons that many local churches do not achieve the prominence and effectiveness that God desires is rooted in this human frailty and flaw. I have known, men and women who are in the lead position in a congregation who are unable to allow the gifts in others function fully and effectively because it diverted the attention from themselves. They needed to be noticed and anything or anyone that detracted from that notice became a thorn in the side and, at times, an enemy. If it is God’s church and He is the builder and owner, then we are managers or stewards of that which is His and if He has placed gifts and talents in the church it is vital that we recognize the benefits of those and utilize them fully without fear of our being diminished. We need to remind ourselves of the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase but I must decrease.”
If we are doing what we do for recognition and notice, we are seeking ‘fulfillment’ from a wrong source. It is not the praise of men that gives us significance it is the HAND OF GOD. It is Who we are in Him. It is the fact that we are members of the Body of Christ and He has chosen our position and function and as in the human body all the parts must work in harmony for health and life. I am reminded of the analogy of Paul in 1 Corinthians 12. He reminded the Corinthians that the human and spiritual body is not individuals or individual parts but many parts linked together to producing life and health. The hand is part of the body, not the primary focus. The ear is part of the body and contributes greatly to the overall function but it is not the primary focus. The eye is very beneficial in the operation of the body but even the eye is not the primary focus nor does it stand alone. The head which houses our brain is vital to life but if we understand that We are not the Head, Jesus is we find it much easier to function as a unified body working in harmony and utilizing all the parts and functions. Your title does not make you important, God’s purpose does.
I do not call myself anything but a Child of God because I have never wanted people to notice me and extend flattery to me. I am a human being and battle human ego the same as others so I guard my life desiring what I do to call attention to God, not me. Paul dealt with the Corinthians in another place as they divided into sects and cliques saying, “I’m of Paul, I’m of Apollos, I’m of Cephas, or I’m of Christ” which only called attention to themselves not the Kingdom of God. The identifier “Christian” is the only identifier we need. If you see me functioning in a gift, know that God chose to use me in that gift for that time and for that purpose. I have instructed congregations that I have led, “Do not look at me, look at Jesus. If you find what I’m teaching and preaching is consistent with God’s word embrace it, if not bring it to me and let’s come to a clearer understanding together.” When I have left churches, I have pleaded with people, “Do not refer to Roy Beaird in the future, as some benchmark or guide. Refer to the Word of God and work with the new leadership to fulfill the purposes of God in this community.” I have said and mean it with my whole heart, “I do not care if people remember who I am if they will remember the truth that I presented and allow that to transform and guide their lives.” I am not the focus, God is.
Any sense of significance we gain from the recognition of others is fleeting but the fulfillment in serving God from a pure heart produces a contentment that is beyond human understanding. So, whatever we do we need to guard against doing what we do for recognition of others. My prayer is, “Lord make the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart pleasing in your site. Guard and guide my steps and help me to decrease that you might increase in my life.”
God, bless you as you empty yourself of yourself and allow the Holy Spirit to fill you with His fullness. Walk in abundant blessings today!