The comment was too good to remain buried at the bottom of the blog. In reference to an earlier post, which detailed our church's efforts to help a member in need, someone asked:
Shouldn't good deeds be left unspoken? Is it right to help someone and then talk about it? Don't get me wrong it sounds like you all really helped out somoene, but does the whole world need to know.That is a good question. In fact it is one that produced quite a bit of debate amongst some attenders of CrossRoad Church prior to our launch. "Should we let the world see what we are doing or should we keep it on the down low?" The answer depends upon...you guessed it...your motives.
When we were preparing to launch our church, we had a few vocal attenders that thought it was wrong to take up a public offering because others could see who was giving to the church. The discussion then turned to Matthew 6.1-4, where Jesus said
1 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. 2 So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Taking that verse to the extreme, some concluded that any "visible acts" of righteousness should be avoided (thus the disdain for a public offering. This conclusion raises a question, "Was Jesus' intent in this statement to ban all public acts of service or celebration of said facts? Given the context of the Sermon on the Mount as a whole, I would say no.
Consider the Words of Christ in in Matthew chapter 5:
Given these words "that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven," it is impossible to conclude that Jesus wanted us to keep all good acts a secret. The bigger issue being addressed is hypocrisy.
14 You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on
its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let
your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your
Father in heaven.
So in response to our good friend that left the earlier comment, the answer in this case is yes, the whole world does need to know. They need to know that God is good. They need to know that His Spirit has brought a group of unrelated people together in redemption and created a bond so tight that we will do whatever it takes to help each other bear their burdens in this life. The world needs to know see tangible evidence of God's love, compassion, and even providence toward his children. By celebrating what God has done to provide a repaired vehicle for our family in Christ we are hoping to do just that. We are not proud of what we have done (which would be hypocrisy and violate Matthew 6.1-4); we are proud of what God has done.
Thanks for a GREAT question. I look forward to hearing from you again.