1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
I have been thinking about this a lot recently. What does it mean to have a servant's heart? What first comes to mind is the passage above from the book of Matthew. I have looked at this passage many times and always come to the conclusion that when I give I should not be doing it to get praise from men because ultimately that would be my reward--which is unfortunate to think I could be storing up eternal gifts in heaven yet i will settle for mortal praise! However, I always looked at it as being praised from outsiders, but what about looking for praise from the person I am serving?
I recently realized that if I give a person food and expect him to be grateful, or open my house to someone and expect them to be grateful, then I do not have a true servants heart! When I give a homeless man food, and in return I get no thanks, or worse yet, receive a disgusted response at my food selection for him, I must not be bitter. If I am bitter, then I was looking for his praise and acceptance, and thus my service is selfish and futile. Instead, I should act lovingly towards him, and want to serve him just the same as if he was the most grateful person on the earth.
My actions do not reflect the amount of gratitude and thanks I should be giving Jesus for what he did in coming and dying on a cross for my sin. Why then do I expect this other imperfect human to be grateful for my imperfect act of service? Often I think too highly of myself...this is one of those cases...