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Just Between You and Me

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
Matthew 6:1

While in the ladies’ room at church, I observed a woman rip off a paper towel to dry her hands. She then turned the knob so another paper towel was dispensed, leaving it for whomever would need a towel next. I was impressed by that gracious act.

Still musing on this, I ascended the staircase of the church as a man descended. Noticing that the painting above the landing was askew, he straightened it and continued on his way. Another selfless behavior.

Neither of these individuals sought praise from anyone. They were totally unaware that I had noticed their small acts of kindness.

I was reminded of Jesus’ words, Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If we are doing works to look good in front of others, it doesn’t benefit us. The Pharisees in Israel would take great pains to appear righteous to onlookers. The Bible says they dressed in showy, religious clothing, prayed long, loud prayers, sought attention when giving offerings, and desired the best seats wherever they went.

Jesus gave three examples of this hypocritical behavior in regard to fasting, praying and giving. Three times-after each example-he stated, Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full (Matthew 6:2, 5, 16).

He contrasted the same three actions performed in secret for an audience of one, our Heavenly Father. After each of these examples, he said, Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you (Matthew 6:4, 6, 18).

I would love to see how the Father rewards the two selfless people I observed at church for their actions. I would suspect they don’t even remember doing them.

I have to continually evaluate whom I am trying to please. Is it God or others?

Lord, I aspire to seek only your approval.


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