The right motivation
'Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.' Matthew 6:1 NIV
In Matthew 6, Jesus says: 'Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them... when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others' (Matthew 6:1-2 NIV). Now, we know that when we're in tune with God, his love and joy naturally spill out into actions that make a difference to the people around us. And people will see our actions.
Jesus said of the Pharisees (the most religious group of Jews in Bible times, who strictly obeyed the laws): 'everything they do is done for people to see' (Matthew 23:5 NIV), and goes on to call them 'whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean' (Matthew 23:27 NIV). It's not the visible deeds that are a problem, it's the heart behind and the motive within for why we do the deeds.
This doesn't mean we have to go to undercover-agent lengths to hide or deny our good deeds, but we do have to make sure that they are done with a humble and prayerful heart. If we ensure that our motivation is glory for God, not for ourselves, we're on the right track.
So what now? Every time anyone says 'thank you' to you today, silently pray a quick prayer of blessing for them. Make it a rhythm to focus the recognition of your positive actions back to God.
Soulfood: Ezek 43-45 Matt 24:26-35 Ps 78:32-39 Pro 20:20-21,