Be careful not to do your “acts of righteousness” before men, to be
seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in
heaven. —Matthew 6:1
doesn’t appreciate an accolade or two, but are you willing to become a
small fish in a big pond? In other words, when all you have done has
gone unnoticed and you do not get recognition, what matters most to
you—receiving an immediate reward (man’s recognition) or a heavenly
reward (God’s recognition)?
If Paul had said, “I have planted and God gave the increase,” there
would be room for self-importance. How humbling it is that God uses
more than one person in another’s conversion! There is not a single one
of us who owes his or her conversion and growth just to one person. In
my case I could speak not of a dozen but of fifty, maybe a hundred, all
of whom have had a powerful influence on me. The test is the
willingness to be a small fish in a big pond.
What if I am not noticed for all the hard work I do? My
effectiveness must be determined by (a) my willingness to be
insignificant and have an insignificant part, and (b) my willingness to
have an unnoticed part. Great men show themselves small when they
become too worried about their place in history.
But what does it matter? In a short time we will all stand before
the judgment seat of Christ, where it will all come out. People who are
so eager to have their biographies say this or that about themselves
will find out that one day we will all know the real truth anyway! The
question is, if I am a peacemaker, will I keep quiet about it? If I am
persecuted, will I keep quiet about it? If I am pious, if I pray, fast,
and give sacrificially, will I keep quiet about it? If I am determined
to get noticed, well, I will probably get it, but that means I get paid
now, but recognition in this life is a very low pay indeed.
Excerpted from When God Says “Well Done!” (Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 1993).