Yesterday we talked about the power of secrecy and reward and we affirmed that it’s okay to be motivated by Heavenly blessing and reward when we make a decision to relate to Jesus privately, without the attention or affirmation of others. Today, I want to take that a step further and submit to you that public giving and ministry have their own brand of blessing — in the moment.
There are many times in my church that I get up and pray in front of the congregation. Obviously, this isn’t a bad thing. Jesus had a very public face to His ministry and He was teaching and praying for people all the time. Naturally, there was a huge blessing in this, but He also made sure He reserved special times to relate directly to His Father, because that’s where the greatest reward was; He needed those empowering moments to move forward in His calling. Similarly, we have individuals who have given to our church or to Hour of Power, sometimes publicly and sometimes privately. Both are a tremendous gift and both cause great things to happen in the Kingdom, it’s just that gifts given in anonymity are a bigger blessing to the giver! These examples are illustrations of the Jewish teaching about goodness that says that even if you do something good for the approval of others, it’s still a blessing — it’s just not as rewarding as doing it in secret. I once heard Dennis Prager, who is Jewish, say that, “If you want to give to put your name on the side of a hospital and you want people to applaud, just do it. It’s still good. It’s just not as good as doing it in secret.”
Friend, Jesus didn’t say that those who give in front of others to be seen by them have done evil; He said that they have their reward in full. In other words, their reward is the dignity, respect, applause and acclaim of others in that moment. It is still good, but not the best! Don’t condemn yourself for the ministry and good works you have done publicly, simply understand that the greater reward comes from God! If you minister for the applause of others, it may not be a sin, but it can be hypocritical and hurtful for you. He can still use you to bless people, but you will not experience the richest and fullest encounter with His goodness. Jesus’ reward is tremendous — it’s everything you could ever want or hope for — so seek His blessing in secret and watch how it changes you!