In Jesus most famous sermon, called the Sermon on the Mount, he challenges people to live above the level of righteousness of the religious leaders of his day. Matthew chapters five through seven records the whole sermon. Chapter six focus specifically on acts of righteousness. Jesus warns not to do out acts of righteousness before men, to be seen by them. He points to giving, prayer, and fasting.
The most religious people of his day liked to draw attention to how devout and holy they were in their actions. When the gave money to the poor, they wanted to announce it with trumpets. This might have literally happened, or it just might be an exaggeration of their behavior. He also confronts their actions when praying. At their time of prayer, they would do it on street corners and have long and showy talks with religious words. When they fasted or went without food for religious purposes, they would wear a sad face so that everyone would know what they were doing.
I am sure they could rationalize it. They talked about setting a good example for the unbelievers. I imagine discussions in which they mentioned making a difference in the world and letting people know some good news along with the all the bad. Maybe they viewed it as trying to share their faith through shining a light into the dark world. Perhaps, they wanted to distinguish themselves from the riff-raff of society and send a clear message that they were God’s people.
Jesus calls his followers to live above that type of thinking. He does not want us to display our righteousness in public; instead, he challenges us to do them in secret. He tells his disciples to give without anyone seeing, even your left hand. When we pray we are to go into a secret place. When we fast we should put on a happy face so that no one will know. Jesus wants our service to the Lord to be exclusively for the Lord.
I wonder what Jesus would say in a world of social media? Perhaps, don’t do your acts of righteousness before the camera. You do not need to share pictures about your kindness. Maybe he would say, you don’t need to post about everything you do for the God.
Yes, there is a fine line. I want to shine a light for Jesus. I want people to see my good deeds and glorify God. And there is the rub. When I share my life with the world am I seeking God’s glory, or do I want other people to know how good of a person I am?
Most of the time you have no idea about the amount of good going on in our world for the glory of God. That’s okay. God knows.