“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 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 men.
I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4, Holy Bible, New International Version).
I was recently speaking with another woman about her need for accolades when she does something for another. Her pain was genuine, as she did not want to be this type of person. However, she had been overlooked many times on a job well done. Her human need for affirmation was real. As we spoke, I tried to give her another perspective on what she was going through.
I encouraged her that God saw her performance. And then the above Scripture came to mind. While preparing to write my column for this week, I coincidently opened my Bible to this exact Scripture. I did not need any more hints from God that I was supposed to attend to this topic.
This particular Scripture is addressing the act of giving. To be applicable to our lives today, this could be something we do for another or a job we do at work or school that seems to go unnoticed by others. Consequently, we get our feelings hurt. We then may be tempted to “toot our own horn” so that we receive recognition. This is addressed in the Scripture about “announcing it with trumpets.”
In reality, as Christians, we do not need to draw attention to our good deeds. God sees them. Hypocrites make a big show of their actions to receive great compliments. This is not to be our character as children of God. There will definitely be times when we will do a great job, get overlooked, be hurt and then be tempted to point out our efforts and accomplishments.
The Lord wants us to know that He sees our hard work and the heart behind it. Our compensation does not need to come from humans. We will receive it through our spiritual growth and the reward God has for us in heaven.
When we do good, there will be times that we are appropriately recognized. When I do quality work in my profession, I receive suitable encouragement because of the nature of therapy — we keep each other accountable professionally and always support therapeutic work we are doing well.
But as a pastor, I was overlooked frequently, given the nature of that profession. There is often not a lot of thanks given to ministers, at least not in the church I worked at. So I have unquestionably had my fair share of realizing my reward came from God, because He knew I was working that job with my whole heart. When we feel the tension of going unrecognized, we have a choice to make.
Does God reward us when we do well, are pained by lack of recognition from others, and refrain from taking matters into our own hands to receive our praise? The Bible tells us God does. It may not be that week, or even that year, but eventually, in some way we personally comprehend, the Lord will bless us for doing our duties with a pure heart.
Scripture is clear about that. If we do try to put the spotlight on ourselves, “you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Matthew 6:1b). I don’t know about you, but I much prefer to trust my Lord and receive His reward one day and be monetarily overlooked by my fellow man presently. How about you?
The Rev. KIMBERLIE ZAKARIAN can be reached by e-mail at holyhouse9@ gmail.com or by mail at Holy House Ministries c/o the Rev. Kimberlie Zakarian, M.S. La Vie Counseling Center, 650 Sierra Madre Villa, Suite 110, Pasadena, CA 91107