Lately I have been noticing a common theme in my reading and studying. It is not about what people see you do, it is about what God sees you do, and the heart he sees you do it with. That probably confused you more. Here is a verse that explains what I am talking about:
Matthew 23:5-7 "Everything [the Pharisees] do is done for men to see: they make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; they love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have men call them "Rabbi."
God cares that we do good things. He cares that we help others, that we support missionary work, that we work in the daycares at church, that we feed the homeless, that we tithe regularly, that we volunteer at church and in non-profits. He loves that we do these things. But...you knew there was a 'but' coming. But, the most important thing is that we do these things with a pure heart. If you are "serving" to gain people's admiration, you are not serving God, you are serving yourself. It's always, always, important to check your heart to see why you are doing what you are doing. God will not honor selfish service.
The best way to figure out if you have a pure heart in your actions is to ask yourself, "If nobody in the world knew I was doing this service and I never recieved a compliment, would I still do it?" If your answer is yes, than you are serving God. Some of the most fun ways to serve God are in secret. Providing anonymous funding for a high school student to go to youth camp, or dropping off a bag of groceries at a friends house who you know is struggling financially. These serving secrets are between you and God and he LOVES them! Watch your relationship with Him grow like crazy when you start serving in secret.
I don't want to take away from all the awesome ways people serve in a visible way, because with a pure heart those people are honoring God in amazing ways! But I challenge you to this week think of a way you can serve someone in secret. I can guarantee if you do it once, you will want to do it again and again!
Can you keep a secret?