In the same way, let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
– Matthew 5:16
I’m ashamed to admit there are many times that I try to apply this verse to my life and it looks like this:
Let your light shine before men, so that they may see your good works.
But that’s not where the verse ends! The most important part has been cut out – “so that they may give glory to your Father in heaven!”
I’ve spent a fair amount of time in and around nonprofit organizations. There are plenty of good people who volunteer and donate their time and money but they themselves are not followers of Christ. You don’t have to be a follower of Christ to do good works. So what’s the difference between a Christian and a nonChristian doing a good deed?
We’re all doing the same work – right? We’re all walking dogs at the animal shelter, washing dishes at the soup kitchen, and cleaning up in disaster relief programs. But what’s the end goal?
That’s a question that as a Christian I must constantly insert into my life to examine my heart’s motivations. Why am I doing this? Is it simply to look good? Is it to make other jealous? Or am I letting my actions give glory to God?
Anyone can feed the hungry with the end goal of filling physical stomachs. But there is more to the Christian faith. We feed the hungry to meet a physical need so that we can then build trust to help meet a spiritual need.
As this week comes to a close, ask the Holy Spirit to examine your works and reveal to you whether they are glorifying yourself or God. Repent of those that bring honor solely to yourself and ask for God’s help to glorify Him in all that you do.