Matthew 6:1 “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.”
The word for “reward” here is also used for “pay.” They are so different in English but in the language of first century Palestine it was one word and the distinction was taken from the context in which it was used. So, one translation of this word when it is used again in verse two put it this way, “I assure you, they have already been paid in full” (Good News Bible). It is sometimes hard to distinguish between what is a healthy self-image and what is the need for recognition to feed the hungry ego; sometimes, but not always and maybe not often. Most of feel like we can see the difference in others between what is done from a heart of compassion and what is done for attention. It is often not displayed by stating “see how great I am” but more usually by putting others down so that our generosity in money, time or effort can be seen in it’s proper, better, light. It is seen in the anger and indignation expressed when others get the attention we feel we deserve or our way of doing things is not adopted. On the other hand, those people I know who give of themselves for the joy of it seldom are negative and condescending. In fact, they seem to be happy about being part of what God is doing. They act like they have received a reward in being able to give. We all seek recognition. The question is do we seek it from others for the sake of self-esteem, or do we seek it from God for the joy of being part of what he is doing in our part of the world? What reward are you seeking this week?