There are two words that many people in our culture live by. I might even say most people. We would likely not be able to identify these two words but when you look at how we act and the priorities we have these two words become obvious.
How much of our culture screams out “notice me?” How many apps center around this concept?
On these apps what are the messages that we get?
Notice my promotion
Celebrate my work anniversary.
Hey it’s my birthday
Look at what my kid accomplished
Did you see where I went on vacation
This is what I ordered for dinner
Hey everyone I got tickets to the game
Check out the mission trip I’m going on
Look at how cute my kids are
It almost doesn’t matter how we get noticed just that we get noticed. In my search I found this post.
It’s what our apps are about. It’s what all advertising is about. There are people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian who have made millions simply by getting noticed. It’s hard for us to not slip into this pattern.
Believe it or not Jesus addressed this cultural phenomenon 2000 years ago.
“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.” Matthew 6:1 (The Message)
You may not post or pose but we all struggle with this. I want people to notice when I do something good.
It’s easy to casually drop stories that make us look good.
We mention homeless people we’ve fed and people we’ve helped in anecdotes we tell or, if you’re like me, sermons I give.
Our highlight reel tends to slide into our conversation. Big deal right? If we do something good people should know about it. We are setting a good example.
However, the God who made you won’t be applauding. In other Bible translations Jesus mentions that those who seek the stage, “Will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” NIV
Jesus points out how “notice me” slipped into his culture and it wasn’t secular culture he was talking about. This isn’t Kim Kardashian posing in a bikini. It was church people he was calling out. He gives examples in Matthew 6.
“When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—‘playactors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds.
They get applause, true, but that’s all they get.
When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out.” Matthew 6:2-4 MSG
On first glance these words sound like they are talking about somebody else but, is it possible that we have something inside of us that when we do something good we want people to know?
There is a classic moment in the TV show Seinfeld in which George is trying to tip at a restaurant but doesn’t get noticed and makes the statement, “ If they don’t notice what’s the point?” Jerry responds to George, “ So you don’t make a habit of giving to the blind?” George responds, “Not bills!”
If you have time click the link and watch the clip. It’s brilliant.
There is something inside of us that is like George. We want to be noticed when we do something good. Whether it’s serving or a mission trip or tipping or giving to the homeless. There is something that feels good about other people noticing that we are good.
Unfortunately when we point out the good we do there are repercussions. Jesus says that we will lose our reward. I do not know what the reward system in heaven is going to be, but I am pretty convinced what Jesus said is a determining factor in a rewarding life. Living to get noticed never leads to true joy. I have realized that trying to do things to make everybody else notice me is simply not a rewarding way to live my life.
Do you want a life that is rewarding?
Stop considering what everybody else around you thinks of you.
Don’t worry about what your boss thinks and what your neighbors think and if you are getting enough credit for what you’re doing.
Pour your life and your heart into your family and friends and the people at your work. Find a ministry and pour yourself into it. Volunteer at a place you are passionate about. Do it because that’s what you were designed to do. If you find that sweet spot the internal reward will be worth it even if nobody notices.