Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. (Matthew 6:1-2)
It might seem incredible that people in Jesus’ ministry were practicing charitable deeds who were motivated to do so because they wanted to be acknowledged by others. But it might not seem all that incredible when we think about how the motives behind this is the human nature, pride.
Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. (Philippians 2:9)
Jesus Christ’s life provides the perfect example of humility. Though He was and is an eternal deity, Jesus humbled Himself to become a servant of all, taking the form of man and became obedient to the point of death. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name above all names. This is exactly what God did with Jesus at the completion of His work in accordance to Jesus’ prayer. In His prayer, Jesus asked the Father to restore to Him the glory that He had with the Father from the beginning (John 17:4-5).
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I testify.
It’s been almost eight years ever since I came to Taiwan to pursue a doctorate degree. Upon knowing that the school had offered an unconditional full scholarship for four years, I was enthusiastic to move to Taiwan despite my poor proficiency in Mandarin Chinese. Although I’m a Malaysian Chinese, I grew up in a non-traditional Chinese family, adopting mostly western values instead. At home, we mainly spoke in Cantonese and English. While I was in elementary school and high school, the medium of instruction was in Malay language. Unsurprisingly, I was known by friends as a “banana” (a person of Chinese origin with yellow skin but isn’t well-versed with Chinese language, particularly Mandarin Chinese). Since many people knew that I didn’t know Mandarin Chinese, they were indeed surprised and amazed that I was coming to Taiwan.
Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? (Job 38:2)
Job was an upright man who feared God and shunned evil. God himself said that there was none like Job on the earth, who was blameless in his ways (Job 1:8). However, being blameless in one’s ways does not mean that one fully knows the Lord.
But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. (Mt 25:18, ESV)
When I read the parable of the talents, I never quite think of myself as the wicked and lazy servant who buried his talent in the ground. I was actively serving at church – it wasn’t like I wasn’t using the talents that God gave me! But there’s another way to bury our talents apart from not using them, and that is by being complacent.