From today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:13-16):
‘….In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in Heaven.’
Don’t we just love to be praised for our good deeds? Doesn’t a little bit of praise just make our day and bring a little smile to our face? After all, it tends to mean we are doing something right which can’t be a bad thing!
But what if someone told you that it would be even better for you if you deflected that praise onto someone else? What if someone said ‘Well done, you did such a wonderful thing there and I am grateful to you, but if I am being honest, it wasn’t really down to you was it?’? Ouch!
Yet Jesus is encouraging us to think this way in today’s Gospel.
When we do good works, we are only doing them by the grace of God. Good works come from love. And what is love? God is love. So our good works come from God working through us, and it is He who is deserving of praise for this.
But what about me? What about the part I played?? Well, if you didn’t allow God’s love to shine through you it would not be possible for Him to do His good work. We do have free will after all and we could easily decide to not show God’s love to others, so in allowing God to work through us we are showing the Father that we are willing to surrender to His Will. This is a great gift! It is this most important, most beautiful gift that we need to recognise when we do good works. We don’t need to be praised. God needs to be praised. We simply need to recognise that we are surrendering to God’s divine plan. That is what is in it for us. And it is in surrendering to God’s plan that we acknowledge Him and develop our relationship with Him.