I was reading in the local paper (okay, it wasn’t the actual paper, it was an app on my smartphone) about a community that just finished renovating the town square. They had solicited funds from people and businesses for some of the work and had stated that they would place plaques in the square acknowledging their contribution.
Well the square is complete and the plaques have not been placed. Some of the contributors even stated that they would cover the cost of the plaques. They seem to want the plaques to recognize them for their good work.
As I read about this, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words in Matthew where He is giving a discourse on prayer. He shares how those who pray in public to be seen of men have received their reward – the praise of man.
Do we get upset when we do not receive the praise of man? Do we do things just to be recognized by man (i.e. – do we give to charities, tithe, etc for the tax deduction – recognition of man)? Would we give/serve the same if that recognition was not offered?
On my web site, I always give credit for people who submit files. Not because they ask me to, but because I do not want to get credit, or claim credit, for the efforts of others. They shared to assist others in ministry, not for the “reward of man”. I say that because sometimes we are recognized for things we do (like the plaques in the square), though we may not always seek it.
As we enter this Awana year, may we remember that we are serving to reach children for Jesus, for His glory – or at least we should be. If you are serving to get praise from the children, or others, then when you receive it, then you have received your reward. Receiving praise from others is not bad in itself, it is encouraging, however if you are serving seeking praise from others, then you are serving for the wrong reason.
Serve Him and see how He will use you this year. Then share with others what He has done, giving Him the glory!