When I first started in ministry, I worked primarily with youth. Youth ministry is a lot of fun, and it can also be challenging because there are times – and I wasn’t any different – when youth do some of the craziest things. (Translation: stupid things) One of the things that I would say to the youth was, “If you are thinking about doing something, I want you to say it out loud. If it sounds stupid, don’t do it.” I’d like to think that at least some catastrophes were diverted.

It’s amazing what people will do for attention sometimes. People will act out in the most ridiculous of ways. Ways that make you say, “You know you’re an adult, right?” In Matthew 6, Jesus is talking about how there are things that we need to do, but we don’t need to draw attention to ourselves in the process.

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. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:1-4 NLT)

Notice what Jesus isn’t saying here. He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t do good deeds; he’s saying that we shouldn’t do them so that others will have their attention drawn to them. As a way of showing our faith, we should always be working hard to live it out and show others the love of God, but we don’t need a sign that says, “HEY!!!! LOOK AT ME!!!!” When you give – when, not if – give as an outflow of your faith; not so that others will think more highly of you.