by Aaron Borklund

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.” Matthew 6:2

What about being human, causes us to want recognition for the good things we do? Perhaps you don’t think of yourself as needing that kind of praise, but It is a common feeling for many. If you have ever wished for accolades for a hard day’s work from a boss or a spouse, if you have ever wanted to be appreciated for the wisdom or intentionality of having done something significant, it is a very common thing. In many cases, it doesn’t seem very problematic, but this text challenges us. Jesus invites his followers to disconnect their works from the pursuit of praise from others.

Our desire for recognition comes from our desire to know that we are valuable in the world. We want meaning and purpose; if others recognize us, we feel our lives have a purpose. But the truth is, our deeper desire, greater than our desire for praise, is desire for God to be watchful over us. These words of Jesus are simply an invitation to embrace that deeper desire rather than settling for the fleeting praise of others. Instead, we shall possess the gift of doing things out of an overflow of God’s love for us. 

Take a moment to ask God to show you what motivates you. Ask him to show you his love so that your actions come from a deeper place of meaning. 

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