Have you ever found yourself doing a good deed for someone; and then you share with a friend what you have done. Perhaps you were looking for affirmation, or, perhaps, an “atta boy/girl!,” for your actions. You did the deed in a way that somehow brought the attention to you, rather than highlighting the need that required that good deed in the first place.

In Matthew 6: 1-6, 16-21, Jesus is teaching about what life looks like as we seek to follow him. It is apparent that attention-seeking acts were nothing new. People, from thousands of years ago, also sought praises for their acts of kindness toward others.

As his followers, Jesus wants us to help one another, to be kind, to offer support, as examples of how we love our neighbor. But Jesus wants us to do so in a way that highlights the deed, and the desire to help that is behind the deed; rather than have the spotlight shine on us and how generous the deed-doer has been or of their seeking affirmation for what they had done.

Jesus asks us to be generous; to act with humility, sincerity, and with graciousness.  But he offers this test to us so that we might learn and practice, not just get a good grade.  He wants us to be ready to help people; and for us to know that our deeds will speak for themselves. We don’t need to shine a spotlight on what we’ve done. The good deeds we do will convey what kind of people we are and what we stand for; loving God and loving our neighbor.