Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
I used to think I had enough zeal for God’s glory that drove me to give my best shot at just about anything. I felt that I had to excel because I’m God’s “display center.” I couldn’t afford to make a mistake because the world – where the majority of which is comprised of unbelievers – is watching.
“You are the light and salt of the world” – this have I not only taken to heart but to my head in an unflattering manner – until, one day, I reread this whole chapter with new eyes.
You see, there’s a thin line between shining bright for man’s acclamation and doing so for God’s glory.
If one is not careful, he becomes competitive, convincing himself, I’m supposed to be the head, and not the tail, therefore I should be the best in this team in my workplace.
Or, if he’s blessed, he’d say, Look at me, I’m excelling because I’m a believer, and you’re not.
This. Is. Pride. Talking.
This goes against what Jesus said in the preceding text,
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:3)
God looks at our heart. In fact, it would be better to hide the light if we have wrong intentions in doing good, as the next chapter, Matthew 6:1, says,
Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.
The thing is:
It is not about you.
The glory belongs to God, not you.
Personally, this was a hard lesson, but one I needed to learn nevertheless. And until then, I knew I couldn’t be trusted with a bigger platform due to the fact that I couldn’t be trusted with giving God ALL the glory.
Thank God for this revelation!
Learning this makes the burden light. I don’t have to worry about my reputation.
Yes, I am called to do good works for the world to see, but all those are no longer done out of pleasing men, but pleasing God; the spotlight is not on me, but my heavenly Father. And the glory goes to Him alone, as it says,
…that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (emphasis mine)
To learn to truly worship Him by giving Him all the glory —by being a faithful and humble vessel that holds His light – this is glorious.
(I have more to learn, that’s why this is a journey. So shall I be writing again, God willing.)