July 16, 2013
READ: Matthew 6:1-3
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven (v.1).
My neighbourhood in Uganda was relatively quietuntil a businessman disrupted our peace byopening an outdoor bar across the street from my home. Now loud music blares the entire night, with the bar owner refusing to consider the residents he’s disturbing. He tells us that he’s a good man, and since he gives money to the poor, people shouldn’t complain.
Those of us experiencing sleepless nights find the man’s self-proclaimed “good works” easy to ignore. We aren’t charmed by the fact that he does some things that appear to be altruistic.
My neighbour’s inconsistencies have caused me to think about my own life. Is it possible that for every good thing I’ve done for one person, I’ve said or done something unkind to someone else? I don’t know the ratio of my good to bad deeds, but I do know that God is greatly concerned about my motive for doing good deeds. Jesus said, “Watch out! Don’t do your good deed publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1).
Now, God instructs us to be “generous to those inneed, always being ready to share with others” (1 Timothy 6:18). He wants us to sacrificially help and serve others, as He has done for us. But the purpose is to bring Him glory, not to simply make ourselves look good to God or others (Colossians 3:23). For if our good deeds made us acceptable to God, then we would have something to boast about. But that isn’t God’s way (Romans 4:2).
With hearts changed by God’s grace, may we let our “good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise [our] heavenly Father” (Matthew 5:16). That’s why we do good things.—Roxanne Robbins
Look up “deeds” in a concordance and listthe types of deeds the Bible refers to. See Romans 8:13 and2 Corinthians 4:2, 9:9.
Why is it important to know that we’ve been saved by grace and that good deeds should naturally flow from our relationship with God? How can we bring Him glory today by doing good things?