“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:6)
Jesus warns us not to do our acts of righteousness to be seen by men. Then he goes on to assure us that we will be seen by an unseen God. I love the interplay with the word “seen.”
He basically says,
“Do not give to the poor, or pray or fast to be seen by men. But just know that in your quiet obedience, your unseen Father is very aware of you; he sees your heart and your sacrifice.”
God is never interested in deeds apart from a pure heart. We cannot buy our way into his graces. But he never misses any nuance of a giving heart.
This passage always challenges me. Am I content to know that God sees and affirms me? Or do I have to make sure other people do too? Do I have to be recognized, applauded, lauded, lifted up, shouted-out, praised by others to feel a satisfaction in being obedient to God?
Or am I encouraged to know that the unseen God, who sees what I do in secret, is saying to the angels: “That’s my girl!”