A few weeks ago I was talking with a coworker how things have changed over time. One of the things we were talking about was how if you want to get recognized, you have to be a self promoter. Unless you are constantly taking selfies and posting them at work, telling everyone what you’re doing, no one will notice your hard work. Social media has not only impacted how businesses advertise, it’s also changed how they recognize a job well done internally. If you want to get promoted to a better position, you have to be a self promoter. It’s the opposite of how I was raised, You can’t just put your head down and work hard to get recognition anymore.
I’m not saying it’s wrong or it’s right. That’s just the world we live in now. When it comes to our Christianity, we can’t let that culture influence us because it’s opposite of Biblical teaching. God still resists the proud and lifts up the humble. The left hand doesn’t need to know what the right hand is doing according to Jesus. There’s a fine line between letting others know your need and showing them the fruit of your ministry and just showing off what you are doing for the recognition of man. One way to know what side of the line you’re on is how you view those you’re ministering to. How do you view them?
Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t allow self-promotion to hide in your hearts, but in authentic humility put others first and view others as more important than yourselves” (TPT). When we care for people because we feel we’re better than they are and they need our help, it’s self promotion. When we put them first and serve them out of compassion, it’s ministry. We want to make sure our hearts are pure and that we don’t fall victim to the self promotion culture when it comes to ministry. If you’re doing it for self promotion, you have your reward, but if you’re doing it for the Lord, your reward is in Heaven.
Photo by Steve Gale on Unsplash
A habit that I’ve noticed in some of the most effective Christians is the habit of service. Most people who have this habit are not noticeable until they are gone. They give of their time and energy, but prefer to stay behind the scenes. They are rarely recognized because they don’t require public praise. They do what they do because it’s what God has called them to. They recognize that for big things to happen, there’s a lot of little things that need to be done behind the scenes.
Jesus told us that the ones who do these little things with an humble spirit are the greatest in His kingdom. In Matthew 23:11-12 Jesus said, “Do you want to stand out? Then step down. Be a servant. If you puff yourself up, you’ll get the wind knocked out of you. But if you’re content to simply be yourself, your life will count for plenty” (MSG). Jesus modeled what it was like to be a servant to others. He spent His life giving instead of taking. He did things to recognize God, not to be recognized. When you live a life of service in a selfish world, you stand out.
Look at the life of Mother Theresa. She spent it serving people who had no ability to pay her back or offer her any recognition. She once said, “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.” I believe that’s the key to the habit of service. Understanding it’s not about doing big things. It’s about the little things that few see. It’s about doing something for someone without posting it on social media. It’s done out of a heart of love for someone in need.
I believe if all Christians would take the time to develop this one habit, we could change the world. If we did things for His recognition instead of our own, we’d have a lot more converts. A life of service yields great results in the kingdom. It’s marked by looking out for the needs of others more than our own. Take time today to look for someone you can serve in some small capacity. Make a difference in their life today and you’ll understand why it’s more blessed to give than to receive.
Several years ago, I took my first trip to Haiti with coreluv.org. One of the things we did was to go to a very poor part of town to feed some children whose parents didn’t have enough money to feed them. I’ll never forget this little girl who couldn’t have been more than five years old. She had her baby brother with her who was around a year old. She took her food and began to feed him. This plate, with a small mixture of rice, beans, and pasta, was all she would get to eat until the next day. Instead of scarfing it down, she took care of her baby brother first.
I have worked with kids my whole life, and I cant think of any other kid who acted so selflessly. Her mom wasn’t standing there telling her what to do. She did it out of love while starving. I was broken in that moment. I grabbed another plate, put a couple of spoons of rice on it, and grabbed her brother to feed him so she could eat as much as she wanted. After her brother ate, he fell asleep in my arms, and I began to reflect on what I witnessed.
In Philippians 2, Paul starts out asking if God’s love has made a difference in our lives. He then says, in verses 3-4, that if it has, “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had” (NLT). This little girl in Haiti exemplified who we are supposed to be as Christians.
If you and I could act as selflessly as this little girl, the world would stop and take notice. I’ve read many stories where Christians have acted selflessly and won entire villages and towns to Christ. If we are going to be called by His name, we should be trying to have His attitude in our lives. Do something today that puts someone else’s needs above your own. Bless them selflessly, putting their needs ahead of yours, and then tell them God loves them. We become more like Jesus one selfless act of love at a time.
This is the brother as he fell asleep. The sister is right beside me.