Heart Check

Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything will reward you. –Matthew 6:1-4 [NLT]

Shel Silverstein wrote a wonderful children’s story called The Giving Tree. In this story, a boy has a friendship with a tree. When the boy is young he swings in the trees branches, picks apples and plays King of the Forest. But as he gets older he spends less time with the tree. Each time the boy visits the tree he asks for favors, and the tree gives to him without questioning.

The tree never asks for anything in return from the boy. She never brags to all the other trees in the forest about all she has done to help him or makes the boy feel guilty for not giving back to her like she gave to him. The tree simply loved the boy and she did it privately. She never called attention to herself. She never blew trumpets. She did her good deeds with a pure heart.

Too often our actions are good, but the motives are hollow. Time and again, people serve and give not from compassion, but from selfish motives. God knows sincere faith and loves a pure heart. You cannot give while expecting to gain. You must give and serve in response to God’s love not for others approval or recognition.

As Christians, we should serve and give, even if no one notices because we know there is One who always sees.

1. What is the condition of your heart right now? Is it selfless or selfish?

2. Why is it easier to do the right thing when you will get recognition? How can you make sure your motives remain pure?

Psalm 51:7-13; Mark 10:42-45; 1 Timothy 5:1-11

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Kelly McFadden

Kelly McFadden is a wife and mother and is part of the HomeWord daily devotional writing team. Kelly graduated from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2000 with a degree in journalism. Following a season of playing professional volleyball and training with the US National team, Kelly returned to school and received her Masters in Christian Education from Azusa Pacific University.

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