The Sermon on the Mount changes the way we practice righteousness.

Do Good So That Goodness May Be Done

When the herald sounds the arrival of a Great One,
Heads turn.
Eyes focus on The Coming.
This is the goal, of course,
For greatness must be seen.

But
“Sound no trumpet,” said Jesus
To those who would do good for others.
Fold the bill to hide Ben Franklin’s face in the plate.
Avoid the conversational boast, so casual:
“When I took on my third Compassion child . . .”

In the synagogue,
In the streets,
In the moment,
Mute the fanfare,
Shut the door,
Shut your mouth.

And do good.

Do good, so that goodness may be done.
Do it for the Father who sees in secret
And for Him alone,
For His Greatness must be seen,
And this is your reward.

 


Because the Sermon on the Mount demands an exceeding and often unseen righteousness,

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Photo by Wim van ‘t Einde on Unsplash

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40 thoughts on “Do Good So That Goodness May Be Done”

    1. Hopefully the latter, right? I just think this is a very touchy subject for those of us who are putting our work “out there.” Obviously, we want it to be “seen by others.” So motivation is EVERYTHING!

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  1. As someone who is on the counting team at church, I can testify that the George Washingtons are folded up several times, while the Ben Franklins are laying stretched out for the world to see!

    Seriously, though, you are so right. We should all examine our motivations. I find the conversational “blowing of our own trumpets” are the easiest for us all to slip into! (Or is that just me?)

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  2. This is such a convicting thing. It’s so easy for “self” to slip into our highest endeavors and want a share of the attention or back-patting. I love the old word “vainglory” because it is so apt.

    A dear older lady said once that she was so tempted to spiritual pride that she stopped participating in any church ministry. While I understand her heart (and of course ministry doesn’t just take place in church), in my own mind I went back to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16). We’re supposed to minister for Him, and others will see that- but it’s for His glory, not ours. As was said a few comments earlier, motivation is so key. I pray He will keep me in the right balance.

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    1. I hadn’t thought of “vainglory,” but it’s wonderfully descriptive. We do get our audiences confused, don’t we? And I agree with you that staying in the game is a test of our focus, and I think it’s better to struggle than to sit on the sidelines in order to avoid the temptation.

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  3. Michele, this is the line I will be thinking on all day…
    “Do good, so that goodness may be done.”
    And may my sole reward be that He is seen and glorified.

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  4. Beautiful post, Michele. It reminds me of one of my favorite verses: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

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  5. Such beautiful and convicting thoughts, Michele. Am I seeking God’s glory, or seeking people’s approval? Thank you for the pause to look into my heart today!

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  6. Great scripture reminder of who matters and sees when we do good when no one is looking. The reward itself is that wonderful feeling that God washes over of a thing done right. 🙂

    Peabea from Peabea Scribbles

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  7. Michele, it reminds me of a phrase we always told our kids – “Just do the right thing.” Not for anyone to see, but just do the right thing. Sometimes the simplest reminders are the most necessary.

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  8. Sometimes we don’t need a lot to words to share a “big” message. Self-righteousness leads to vanity and pride. Turning the glory back to God allows us to grow deeper in relationship with Him. Thank you for this offering.

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  9. […] That same week, I shared one of my own poems, inspired by a sermon series on Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount from my excellent pastor. If His warning to “beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them” has ever jarred you into pondering your motives, you can read my own reflections on it here. […]

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