Commands of Christ: 20

Take care not to do your righteous deeds in order to receive glory from men.

“But take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.  When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,  so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them.  Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face,  so that you may not appear to others to be fasting, except to your Father who is hidden.  And your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you.”   Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

The Lord wants us to do righteous deeds, but he is equally concerned that we do them with the right motive.  The right motive is that the glory and honor go to Him.   Giving to others, prayer, and fasting are all wonderful things, but only if they are done to please and glorify God and not to benefit us or build up our own reputation.  The same thing can be said for all sorts of “good deeds” and ministry.  In the very next chapter, Jesus makes it clear that there will be plenty of people prophesying and casting out demons and doing miracles in His name whom He does not know or recognize.  The heart is deceitful and wicked.  We would do well to watch our motives in all we do, including all we are purportedly doing for the Lord.