"But when you fast, put oil on your head, and wash your face, so that you don’t show your fasting to people but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:17-18)
Something in us appreciates recognition. It somehow seems to validate us. It leaves us with a sense of satisfaction and gratification. We feel appreciated. Recognition can serve good purposes, and it can genuinely encourage people.
The need for recognition can, however, become a negative, a detractor if it becomes a driving force in our lives. Demonstrating a particular behavior to others so that we can gain their recognition reveals a need for acceptance, a need for someone to provide a validation of one’s life. If we thus serve for the recognition that is given, once it is given that is all the reward we will receive, because the eternal factor was ignored.
Serving, giving, and otherwise helping others can have eternal rewards. It offers an eternal recognition from the Father. It is His recognition that provides us with the greatest of rewards. But that recognition is lost, along with its reward, if we serve, give, or help in order to be recognized by other people. So says Jesus.
Father, May our actions serve first to honor and glorify You always. Amen.