“…to be seen of men,” Matthew 6:1-5

Our Lord scolded the Pharisees on more than one occasion.  One of the things He charged them with was doing it for the attention they received.  Ostensibly, they were serving God, but really, they were serving themselves.

One time, Spurgeon referred to ministers who sought out snippets of praise like a cat sniffs out a mouse, that they might have them for their breakfast.

There is something “heady,” if you will, about standing in front of people and being the center of their attention, at least for a little while.  This is why some pro athletes and movie stars find it so difficult to “retire,” and sometimes “come back” when it would have been better for them to have stayed retired.  They miss the “center.”

A couple of you have nominated this blog for awards.  Thank you.  It means a great deal to me.

At the same time, I sense in myself the attitude Spurgeon commented on.  I’m disappointed when there seems to be no response to something I’ve posted.  When there are comments, I’m happy.  I have to ask myself, why?  Am I disappointed because I’m not receiving the attention?  I’m not in “the center”?  Do I seek praise as the cat seeks breakfast?

In all truth, I’m just an instrument in the hands of God, amazed that He’s pleased to use such a contrary one.  When a tourist goes into the Sistine Chapel, he doesn’t ask to see Michelangelo’s paintbrushes.  He is awed by the painting.

I’m just a “paintbrush” in the hand of God.  Even that statement seems almost to be one of insufferable pride.  If I know anything of Scripture, it’s only because God has allowed that.  If I’m able to write, it’s only because God has given me that ability.  If something is blessed to you, it’s only because God has blessed it to you.

I do love to write.  Some men and women are able to take wood or stone or some other material and make something of it.  I use nouns and verbs and punctuation.  Yet all of that is in vain if God doesn’t own and bless it.

I thank those who have nominated me from the bottom of my heart, but I can’t in good conscience receive these awards.  Thank you for thinking of me like that.  I don’t deserve such honor.  Jacob told God, “I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth that You have shown Your servant,…,” Genesis 32:10.

I’m not, either.

14 thoughts on ““…to be seen of men,” Matthew 6:1-5

  1. Von, I like how you describe believers as a “paintbrush” in his hand. He is so gracious in still allowing us freewill to choose whether we make offensive graffiti or beautiful art. It’s easy to tell who is wielding the brush by the painting… You have been given a gift of writing – thank you for sharing them with us.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  2. Thank you for your reminder of why we’re here. I know I’m going to have to keep coming back to this well to drink deeply. Likes, Follows, Stats, these can all quickly become the main thing. Bless you, dear brother. Be kind enough to rein us in when we get too far out there, okay?


    • You’re welcome. Likes, follows, stats are important in their own way, but I think of the missionary, whose name I can’t remember, the missionary to China before Hudson Taylor who labored for over twenty years without a single convert, so far as he could tell. He probably would have been pulled off the mission field today as a failure, but his work in the language set the state for later translations.

      • I know what you mean. For me the follows are the most important, for then I know that the message God has given me is being delivered. To know that LBH is being consistently read in some 30 countries thrills me. Especially since Nigeria, Malawi, India, Korea, Bangladesh, and countries like that are among them. These are places to which I would never go – and would have a hard time finding those with whom I could share His story.

        Seeming to be an ego trip (and they can be), awards are one way that I can not only improve traffic to my own blog, but can encourage others whose articles I read and especially enjoy. For some, it provides the affirmation they need to continue. I don’t nominate lightly, but choose those who are bringing glory to our Lord in one way or another.

        My greatest struggle in all areas of my life is the fear of stepping across the line of “be seen and not heard,” a message that was pounded into me as a child and young adult. (It’s hard to be on a worship team and be seen, but not heard. I managed to do it for three years!) As an adult, and a messenger for Jesus, that “childish thinking” has to go. LBH is one place that I practice moving out of that tiny box.

        My hope is not that I will be the one being seen, but rather, that Jesus’ name will be made known throughout the world. It is a balancing act between humility and pride, to be sure.

        Oh, how I long for the day when we are out of these wretched bodies and no longer have to wrestle with pride, motives, and such!

        May the Lord bless and keep you as you seek to serve Him with all your heart.

        Yours in Christ,

  3. “If I’m able to write, it’s only because God has given me that ability. If something is blessed to you, it’s only because God has blessed it to you.” I just keep thinking of Jeremiah 10:23 “Our lives our not our own”. (paraphrase of NLT). He directs, leads and uses our gifts for our glory. I’m enjoying reading your posts. Each one is filled with godly wisdom. God is using you to bless your readers.

  4. A good reminder for any Christian blogger. I, too, appreciate it when others take the time to read, like, or comment on my blog, but I know I must keep a sober mind about it. “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!” Psalm 115:1

  5. Luke 17:10 comes to mind … “So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.” … thanks for this truth today … I think it’s still good to encourage one another!

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