Jesus spoke these words to his disciples and the crowd when he was talking about the Pharisees. About them, Jesus said that they say the right things, but they love the trappings of their power. They loved the recognition that comes with their position. They loved to hold their authority out over those they should be serving. They loved to be exalted. What about you? Do you fall into this category? I have certainly been guilty of this. I have caught myself saying “What about me?” I have caught myself expecting recognition for things, anticipating being recognized, and then having some disappointment when I have not been recognized for things that I have done. Who doesn’t love a pat on the back when we have helped others or given our time or given our money? It makes us feel good inside. But, in those moments, I do try to check myself because I know that I, just like all of us, am called to be different. We are all called to humble ourselves so that Christ – not us – is glorified through our actions. When we minister to those who need help in times of need, when we share a moment of comfort, when we give of our time and money – in those moments (when we might be tempted to want recognition), we should remind ourselves why we are doing it in the first place. It is for HIS glory – not our own. God loved you and me long before we ever loved Him. I say this more as a personal reminder than anything else. It is a personal reminder that when I did nothing to deserve HIS love and HIS grace, Christ humbled himself, was nailed to the Cross, and willingly shed his own blood for me and my sins. There is truly no greater love. As Paul writes in Romans 5:8 (NIV) “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” Therefore, because of HIS sacrifice and HIS grace, my actions, my gifts, my acts of kindness and mercy are for HIS glory and not my own. Don’t do things for others to see so that we may be exalted – do it because Christ did it for us and in recognition for what He did for us, to HIM be the glory.
G. Grant Greenwood