Monday, April 11, 2016

Are we asking for earthly praise?

I was blessed to hear another great message this weekend from Pastor Craig at +Life.Church  My Monday posts won’t always be about Life Church, but I feel compelled to share this.

Pastor Craig is currently doing a series called “Love Like Jesus.” Last week’s message was on forgiveness. (See this post from last Monday.) This week’s message is on serving. 4/10/16

Something Pastor Craig said really hit home with me.He said we should be honored to use our gifts to impact someone else’s life (without getting credit).

Ouch. I enjoy serving, but I also (pridefully) want others to know about this great thing I did.

I don’t want to shout it from the rooftops, but can I just tell my brother? Or my mom? Come on…let me tell someone! I need them to tell me how great it was that I did this thing.

Wait, what? I NEED(?) them to tell me I did a great work? Why do I need anyone to tell me I did something great? Firstly, that’s all ego. Secondly, the Bible tells me to serve.

Jesus said “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (from Matthew 25:40 NIV). Those who served in the way Jesus commanded, will have their reward someday in heaven. I know this to be truth. But I still struggle.

Tweet: Earthly validation and praise make us feel good while we are here, but do nothing for us in heaven.
Earthly validation and praise make us feel good while we are here, but do nothing for us in heaven.

As a matter of fact, the Bible says “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 NIV)

If you struggle with this as I do, I encourage you to read Matthew chapter 6. What?! If I do this for show, I have already had my reward? Ouch again!

This is a very real personal struggle for me. I have had to consider long and hard what my priorities in life and Christian service will be. I performed an act of service (and even now, I want to tell y’all what it was), and I wanted to tell my brother why it took me so long to meet him…then I wanted to tell my stepson so that he would consider others before himself.

Both of those sound like good reasons to tell someone, but I know it would really be to stroke my own ego. Only my daughter saw what I did, and I explained to her why I did it. Partly because she asked and partly because I want her to grow up with a servant’s heart.

The last point that really stuck with me was that if you look and listen and care, you will find opportunities to serve everywhere. Keep watching for them, and don’t borrow from the glory that God deserves when you act in His service.

Is this something you struggle with? Is the praise of others important to you, or do you serve in secret, anticipating your heavenly reward?

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