Matthew 23:5-7 NKJV
But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
Why do you do the things that you do? This is an important question that we sometimes fail to ask ourselves. A story is told of a young man who desired to be a great violin player. For months he sat under a great violin master learning all that he could. The day finally came when he got the opportunity to present a piece in a sold out auditorium. He was nervous when he went on stage because this was the largest crowd he had ever performed before.
He closed his eyes, set his violin in place and strung the most amazing tune he had ever played. As soon as he had finished there was the roar of a great applause from the crowd and all but one individual stood up to give the young man a standing ovation.
After his performance he looked dejected and unsure of himself so a friend asked him what the issue was.
“How can you be so sad and dejected when you got a standing ovation from everyone in the crowd?” The young man replied “The only person who mattered in the audience did not stand up nor clap.” “And who might that be?” His friend asked? “My trainer and mentor” came the reply. The young man was not performing for the crowd, he had an audience of one.
Hypocrites do things to please the people and not God just like the Pharisees and the teachers of the law did. They did things not because it sprang from their hearts rather it was to look in a certain way in the eyes of the people. The bible says that the motive behind what they did was so that they would be seen by men. They would make the small cases containing Scripture passages, worn on the left arm and the forehead (phylacteries ) wider so that they would be noticed by men giving the perception that they were holy yet their hearts were full of wickedness.
We sometimes find ourselves doing things so as to be seen and recognized. Like the Pharisees, though on the outside it seems like we are doing a good thing, the motive behind it is rotten. Jesus called them whitewashed tombs, white on the outside but inside they are full of dead men’s bones. We do it because we want to be seen and when we are not recognized then we become offended. We take the glory and it is no longer about God but us.
In a world that is being driven by social media, we have to be careful and always ask why we do what we do. Are we doing it for likes and comments or are we doing it to glorify God? If we don’t get any kind of recognition or applause would we still do what we do? What if the people you are doing it for don’t reciprocate? Would you still do it?
God is challenging us to do the right thing with the right motive. That in representing Him, we ensure that our motives are in the right place.
The Bible says that those in Christ are a new creation. Are you behaving and doing things more like the new person or the old man?
What are some ways we behave like the Pharisees Jesus was addressing?
Does it bother you when you do something and you are not recognized, the glory does not come back to you?