Hide and Don’t Seek
You know the game “Hide and Seek,” where everybody hides and one person counts and then tries to find them? The point of that game, if you are hiding, is not to let the “seeker” find out your hiding place. Wouldn’t it be funny if someone hid, but hid in such an obvious place just so the “seeker” would find him? We would think it was odd if the person was trying to be seen! However, Jesus taught in Matthew 6:1-18 that some people do things just to be seen by others. These men would do good works, pray, and fast, just so others would see them and talk about what religious people they were. “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward” (Matthew 6:5).
In all three examples (working, praying, and fasting), Jesus said that “they have their reward” when they are seen by men, and receive no reward from God for their deeds (6:1). Some people today do this, and their problem is the same as the people in Jesus’ day: they are not humble, and are not focused on God. These people receive their reward in the praise that they get from those who see them, and this becomes their only reason for doing what is good and right. They pretend to hide, but really want to be seen. What these people do not understand is that the reward we receive in heaven for doing what is right is far better than the praise we might receive on Earth.
Paul wrote in Colossians 3:12: “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering….” This is what Jesus is teaching us in Matthew 6:1-18—to be humble and do things because they need to be done, not because others may see what we do and praise us. Our prayers should not be long and pretty just to impress others, and we should not seek the kind of work that puts us in the spotlight every time. In our Christian life, we should not seek to draw attention to ourselves. For us, the game should be “Hide and Don’t Seek.”