This morning, I read Matthew 5:13-16 to my kids, talking about how Jesus calls His disciples to be salt and light. We talked about how we are called to do good deeds, which will lead to people knowing and praising the Father. I asked them if they had any questions, and my 8-year-old daughter pondered, "I don't understand how when I do good deeds, that it will lead to others praising God"
What is our usual tendency when people notice us doing good deeds, or ask us why we do them? I think most people (me included) respond by saying things like, "I want to help others," or "We need to love our neighbor," or such. Notice how the focus is on the one doing the good deeds.
Instead, a more Christ-honoring response would be, "I do that because God wants me to be involved like that," or "I show love to others because Jesus has loved me." Then the focus goes to Him.
I explained this to my daughter, and gave an example that she could relate to. Two years ago, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya on a mission trip. Several weeks before I left, she was upset at me, saying that she wanted me to stay. I told her it was OK that she was upset, but that I was going mostly because I felt that God wanted me to go. She got to see that I had God first in my life and that I was trying to follow Him, and it forced her to wrestle with the question of whether she would trust God with her daddy. And after it was all done, she was able to praise our heavenly Father that He used me for His purposes and that He brought me back safely.
As we teach our children to show love to others, let us remember to make sure that the glory and praise is returned to him, instead of on the one doing good deeds.
Do you have a story of how someone praised and knew God more because of how you or your child showed love to him?
-- Joey Espinosa