My Birthday is coming up real soon. I'm not hear to boast, or ask for sympathy/felicitations, or anything of that nature, but I have noticed something about Social Media during this time: asking me to Celebrate My birthday by donating to a charitable cause. Typically, you'd get to choose your own, but for some reason, the social media outlets have decided what is best for me to donate to. I like that idea, but I think the implementation is all wrong. In the age of selfies and social media, we have to put everything we do on blast, let everyone know what we eat, when we go shopping, or even the good things we do. It seems many people want to declare to all the world the good they're doing in it. This is right headed (to do good), but wrong hearted (boasting about the good one does). Jesus, when talking of this exact subject, says this: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4)
Our boldly declaring our generosity, or declaring our good deeds with a cell phone (modern equivalent of a trumpet, perhaps?), is likely doing us more harm than good. In no way am I declaring that we should not do good. Absolutely, we should! But we run the risk of pleasing our father when we consciously or subconsciously toot our own horns so that people can see how good we are. Life is a constant series of checks and balances: reflecting the image of our father in the things we do while not drawing attention to ourselves in the process, and staying humble. Solomon echoes throughout Ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the Sun, and it was true in his time, as it was in Jesus' time as it is in ours: God desires humility. Our good works do not save us, they are a bi-product of our closeness to Him. They are a reflection of His character as He works out the flesh, and indwells within us in Spirit. All things we do, whether eating, drinking, being students, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, friends, neighbors, workers and all else, should be a reflection of His image in us. Everything else is just right-headed and wrong-hearted. Matthew 25:37-40 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’