I don’t know about you, but when I was a little kid and did good things that were pleasing to my parents, I wanted them to know about it. I wanted them to be proud of me. Whether that was in school, sports, piano lessons, doing good deeds, anything. I think all of us are born with that desire to please someone or make someone proud of us to prove how great we are. As an adult, that feeling of wanting to please others or make them proud of us hasn’t gone away, at least for me. (Especially when I’m a words of affirmation girl.) I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing to want to make others proud or to please them, but if that’s the only reason we’re doing good things, our motives have gotten a bit twisted somewhere along the way.
Jesus puts all this into perspective for us as he preaches the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 6 & 7. He boldly says things in this particular sermon that aren’t for the faint of heart, and he most certainly isn’t just saying things that we want to hear to make us feel good about ourselves. This isn’t one of those feel-good sermons. He gives it to us straight, but he does it for our betterment and for his glory. He wants us to grow as believers and make disciples out of others for the Kingdom.
As I mentioned, Jesus preaches on a lot of different topics that aren’t easy to hear and really make us think. These teachings go against a lot of what society teaches us. Society says to give to others and help the poor so we can feel good about ourselves, look good to others, and be lifted up and praised. Jesus says it’s important to not even let your left hand know what your right hand is doing and to not brag about the good deed we’ve just done. How difficult is that? It’s so hard not to share with others the good we’ve done each time we do it. We want to shout it from the rooftops when we’ve done a good deed all for a pat on the back or an ‘attagirl/boy’. But a good majority of what he’s teaching here is to practice your righteousness in secret, to not flaunt it to the world as the hypocrites do. In doing these things the way Jesus teaches, we bring glory to God.
Jesus also teaches us a very important lesson of building your house on a firm foundation. This passage isn’t about finding a solid piece of rock on which to construct your HGTV dream home, it’s about having a firm foundation in Christ. Christ is the rock. Just like the old hymn ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.’ As believers, we are to put our ultimate trust in the foundation of Christ and be firmly and unshakably rooted in him. We know we can trust God because he is a good Father that gives good gifts to his children. In life, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have trouble, and the winds and waves will beat against your house, but as long as your foundation is firm, there is no reason to fear anything that might rise against you.
So, next time you see an opportunity to do good, do it–but keep it to yourself. God will see it and will reward you in a heavenly way, where moths and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. Keep your treasures in heaven, because where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Earthly treasures and fame will only collect dust and rot away and will be worthless. You can’t take earthly things with you. So, where is your treasure?