Matthew 6:3-6 – But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
Matthew 23:6 – The Pharisees love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings on the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.
Galatians 1:10 – For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
Matthew 23:11-12 – But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.
An Unsung Hero is someone who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them – typically a player who isn’t too flashy, but who is reliable and consistent. The success of the team often rides on their shoulders, though few recognize it because they don’t shout for attention. On the contrary, they work diligently, silently, to hold up their end in reaching the goal. In the Gospels, Jesus warns us about seeking fame from men, which if you do, you will already have received your reward. Rather He tells us to perform for the Lord’s eyes, and He will see and give much greater reward. In other words, we’re called to be unsung heroes.
I’ve heard it speculated that when we get to heaven, the greatest there will be people we never heard of. It can be difficult to live for an audience of One. We have this pull to be recognized by people – to seek the favor of men. The Pharisees were trapped in this as they prayed for others to see; they gave to impress the people, and loved places of honor at banquets and respectful greetings (Matt 23:6). We are not so different. I enjoy it when I receive praise from others, when others see me as generous, and when I am treated with honor. These in themselves are not wrong – but when we seek our approval, our worth, from these praises and are not satisfied with our view in God’s eyes we become like the Pharisees. We exalt ourselves so men will exalt us instead of humbling ourselves in hopes of being exalted by God (Matt 23:12).
God has called us to humility, to be servants, to be unsung heroes. It takes humility to put aside the need to be praised by other people (on the flip side, it takes an ego to desire the praises of men). It takes humility to work at what is right, to be reliable and consistent without putting it out there so everyone can see your accomplishments and contributions. Yet we all respect the unsung heroes – and for those who persevere there will be a reward far greater than being esteemed by men – you will be esteemed by God.
Do you seek to please God before pleasing people?
In what areas of your life have you sought the praises of men? Where can you become more of an unsung hero?
For additional reading see Luke 16:15, 1 Peter 5:5-7, 1 Corinthians 12:22-24
Posted on Tue, June 17, 2014
by Todd Lohstreter filed under