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
A familiar axiom in working with people says to praise in public and correct in private. Something close to the opposite is true when we deal with ourselves, however: In public, correct yourself (take responsibility) but don’t praise yourself. Unfortunately, that is being forgotten by leaders who publicly blame others while praising themselves. When that happens not much gets done. It would be best to remember another axiom: There is no limit to the good that can be done if we don’t care who gets the credit.
It’s tempting to want credit and praise for a good deed, smart idea, or successful project. To feel like we need to gain public praise is a function of little faith. It is as if we think God is not capable of remembering our deeds or rewarding us for them. Jesus would have us realize that if we do a good deed only for public praise, then we are not acting with loving motive. No heavenly reward awaits us for that deed.
Only one person ever did good deeds entirely motivated by love. Only one person is worthy not only of our praise but also of the praise of His heavenly Father. Jesus acted only in love when he gave his life as a ransom to redeem us from the punishment of our rebellion and pride against God and each other. Whatever good we do in this world can be nothing more than a reflection of and response to that good deed of salvation. Let Jesus get all the praise, and in due time he will give us whatever reward his wisdom and grace deem proper.
God knows and will remember what your right hand did. That is worth more than all the public praise we could ever get from others. Pastor Tom Konz