“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
I’m sure we’ve all been there: compelled by the Holy Spirit to act, you sent an email or text to encourage a friend. You left a gift for someone in need. You paid a bill for a struggling family. You posted a particular Scripture on Facebook. You did something you knew at the time God had called you to do. You did it, not for human praise, but because you knew not to do it would have been to disobey God. You did it for God’s glory.
Nevertheless, even though your motives were pure, you were still a bit surprised when your act of obedience yielded silence in return. The text was left unanswered. The gift never mentioned. The family appeared unphased. That Facebook post apparently unread and without a single like. Again, you didn’t do it for the praise, but the silence leaves you wondering. Did you really hear from God? Was that really the Holy Spirit telling you to do or to say what you did? It sure would have been nice if someone would have provided a bit of confirmation you were on the right track–a little indication you had really heard from God. But nothing. Nothing other than the conviction you did what you did because God told you to do it.
Well, rejoice in this, my friend. Rejoice in knowing that in God’s kingdom, the silence of today might just be the distance between our faithful service and heaven’s eternal praise. Silence on earth does not mean we missed God. It may very well mean we did exactly His will; He’s just saving the full weight of applause for eternity.
Now I am not implying that confirmation or appreciation on earth negates any eternal reward. It’s okay to be appreciated. It’s okay to be thanked. It’s okay to be recognized. It’s okay to be blessed for being a blessing. What I am saying is that whenever we sincerely act as God commands, we must also remain confident that the God who sees all will one day reward all. We must not doubt we heard His voice just because our eyes see no visual confirmation of His approval. We must trust and believe any act of obedience to God–recognized or not on earth by man–will indeed reap an eternal harvest.
God does not judge based on how people receive or don’t receive what we do; God judges the heart. He takes note of our obedience. And whether or not our obedience is ever rewarded this side of heaven, we must continue the walk of faith–we must continue doing what God calls us to do. We must trust that God promises a harvest in heaven for those who sow on earth–and God’s promises are always yes and amen.
In Matthew 25, Jesus previews the judgment by describing how the Father will gather all nations and then separate them as a Shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He tells the sheep, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). He thanks them for feeding Him, clothing Him, visiting Him, and taking Him in. Yet the sheep don’t understand. They ask God, “When? When did we do all this?” And God responds, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me (Matthew 25:40). This means every act of obedience–every act of generosity and goodwill we do as God commands–is the same as if we did it directly for Him. And whatever we do for God will also be rewarded by God.
I’m sure most will agree we are an instant gratification society. If we want something, we get it. If we put something in, we immediately want something back. Waiting is not something we like to do. Even my kids, when they have a question, don’t want to wait; they just come to me and say, “Mom, ask your phone.”
But God works differently, for His timetable is eternity. Man’s recognition–or lack thereof–means nothing in eternity. Therefore, I encourage you today: don’t let the lack of human appreciation discourage you from walking the path of obedience. Do not grow weary in well doing. Keep listening. Keep obeying. Keep marching forward in faith knowing your Father who sees in secret will reward you–if not in this age, then definitely in the one to come. The seeds you are sowing now will one day be a beautiful harvest in heaven.
Keep on keeping on, my friend. You are loved.