The Unseen Servant
Attention. It's something that everyone wants at some point, whether we realize it or not. We love to be recognized for achievements, outstanding performance, and so on. Our need for attention has multiplied with the rise of social media. We crave "likes" and "shares" on what we post, and can sometimes feel jealous when we see our peers' posts gaining more attention than ours.
When it comes to the Christian faith, however, Jesus gives counter-intuitive wisdom on how we should live out our faith in the World. Consider what Jesus says in Matthew 6 during the Sermon on the Mount:
"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. “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
And just a few verses later he says,
"And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you."
- Matthew 6:1-4, 16-18, ESV.
I would submit to you a simple principle found in these verses:
Christian's should strive to be unseen servants.
Jesus had a problem with how braggadocios the Jewish leaders of his day were. They loved attention. They wanted other people to see how "spiritual" they were. The reality is, while our technology and methods have changed, people are the same today as they were 2,000 years ago. We still crave attention! While we may not sound trumpets in the streets, we sure love to post on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and so on. #Blessed #Servant.
At the end of the day, ladies and gentlemen, if we're honest, who is really getting the attention when we post about our mission trip to Guatemala, homeless service project, and so on? Moreover, if we examine our heart, what's our motivation? To be transparent, my motivations aren't always holy when make posts on social media. There are moments when I have the desire for all eyes to be on me and how "spiritual" I am. Ironically enough, isn't that the same sin that messed everything up in Genesis 3? The sin of pride. We wanted to be like God.
Obviously social media can be used for good, don't get me wrong. Christians should use the platforms we have to proclaim the gospel. The point I am making here is that perhaps we don't have to post something every time we do something for the Lord. Perhaps we could take a lesson from Matthew 6 and be content with serving behind the scenes without anyone noticing...serving in obscurity. Remember what Jesus said,
"But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." -Matthew 6:3-4
Folks, we need to remember that as Christians our reward for faithfully serving the Lord is much greater than a silly "likes" on social media. That would be like me settling for Ramen noodles for dinner when I know my wife is on the way home with Chick-fil-a! We have to remember that our true reward is not something that we will see on this side of eternity. Rather, it will come in the form of "well done, good and faithful servant" when we meet our Lord and Savior.
Friend, my encouragement to you today is to simply be mindful with how you use platforms like social media. As followers of Christ, may we strive to promote CHRIST and not ourselves in everything we say and do!