Maybe I’m just turning into a grumpy old man who harrumphs around the Internet, looking for kids he can yell at. Or maybe my heart is two times too small. Or maybe I just need to get outside more.
But actually, I think there may be something important at stake here.
I’m talking about the ever-increasing phenomenon of people speaking about their good works on social media.
“Had a wonderful conversation with my daughter tonight about her need for Jesus!”
“Shared the gospel with 8 different Muslims today, then prayed for their healing from sickness!”
“Caught my son praying for his sister this afternoon! #ProudDad”
To be clear, I get it. You had some sort of spiritual success, you feel like rejoicing, and you want others to rejoice with you. Or maybe you want to inspire other people to share the gospel like you do. Or maybe you’re just so grateful to see God at work in your children.
I don’t want to be the Debbie Downer / sin police, constantly looking for a parade to rain on. Despite what the watch bloggers tell you, that’s a really miserable way to live.
But it seems to me that, more and more, we’re ignoring Jesus’ command to do most of our good works in secret.
And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:5-6)
Yes, Jesus did command us to let our good works shine before men so that they might praise God. But that command is primarily about letting our works shine before unbelievers so that they might see the glory of God shining in us. We do good works before the watching world so that they might know that God is real and that he changes lives.
But seriously, why does this even matter? Why do I care one iota about what someone does or doesn’t share on Facebook? Am I really that boring of a person that this is how I spend my time (answer: yes)?
This matters because our heavenly reward is at stake!
That was Jesus point. By loudly and proudly doing their good works before men, the Pharisees sacrificed the reward they would have received from God. God rewards those good works that are done in secret. He rewards those good works that are done for an audience of one.
When we trumpet our good works on social media, there’s a good chance that we are, in some ways, sacrificing the reward we would receive from God.
We’re trading heavenly rewards for “Likes”, which has to be the worst exchange ever conceived.
Obviously, I’m not God. I don’t know exactly how God rewards us for the things done here on earth. But I do know that greatly rewards those works that no one ever sees.
I’m not going to tell you never to share about spiritual successes on social media. That would be idiotic and nitpicking. But I do wonder if we shouldn’t at least pause before we press “post”.
Likes, loves, and retweets are nice, but they can’t hold a candle to what is coming.