Who Is It For?
The videos that often warm our hearts and get millions of views are the ones about wealthy entrepreneurs, or average people, giving hundreds of dollars to a homeless man, purchasing someone a full meal and helping them get a job, etc.
However, one question worth asking as a Christian is this: who is this for?
As a Christian, who do you obey Christ for? The kind of obedience that God delights in is when He sees it. Is God’s approval enough for us? Or do we need men to congratulate and affirm us?
This is the kind of obedience that Jesus set forth in opposition in Matthew 6.
Who Is It That Sees?
In Matthew 6, Jesus exposes the mere appearance of God-pleasing obedience by the Pharisees. Jesus warns us, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before others in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward,” (6:1, ESV).
When God is your goal, His approval will be enough. The obedience that the Pharisees performed was just that, a performance. The Christian acts for an audience of One.
Jesus then tells the disciples that you can give, pray, and fast in a way that God is not pleased with (Matthew 6:1-18).
The smile of God is better than ten thousands smiles of men. The eyes of God on your life matter more than the world’s eyes upon you. This is what the Psalmist means when he tells us that God is his portion (Psalm 16:5, 73:26).
Who Is Your Reward?
There is none great than Jesus Christ. Paul said that to depart and to be with Christ is “far better” than all of life (Philippians 1:23, ESV). Psalm 16:11 says this, “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore,” (ESV).
Jesus tells us that when we give, do so in secret so that your Father may see and reward you (Matthew 6:3-4). When you pray, pray primarily for God’s hearing (6:6-7), and when you fast, fast so that God alone knows it (6:17-18).
D.L. Moody once said this, “There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”
When it is done for Christ, there are no little acts of obedience. And in Christ, God the Father rewards His children with sweet graces of joy, faith, peace, and remarkable experiences of communion with God.
The only rewards that are worth striving for are those that stretch into eternity.