Shh! Can you keep a secret? Can you implement a great idea, without taking credit for it? Do your efforts proceed from an inward desire for God’s approval? Or, do they form an outward show for recognition and praise? God watches over us constantly and he sees not only our actions, but the motives behind them.
As the director of a non-profit organization, I met weekly with each member of the small staff I managed to plan and set goals. Amy’s job included affirming our ministry partners. One day, our volunteers were oohing and aahing over Amy’s creative craft given as an expression of gratitude to each of them. Amy, you have the most wonderful ideas, they said. Where do you get them? I knew full well where these ideas came from. My human nature asserted, Speak up! You deserve some credit here. Checked in my spirit, I remained silent. This was Amy’s moment and I did not want to take it from her. Keeping my secret, I walked back to my office, knowing confidently that God sees.
Secrecy frees us from seeking approval in others. We do so many things so that people will recognize us, appreciate us. We want people to notice us and often they do. It’s not necessary to always keep our efforts from being known. The results are not important. But our motivation is. When we serve as our own publicist, advertising our good deeds to receive admiration, applause and praise from others, we have not sought God’s reward. And, we will not receive it.
Secrecy frees us to find our security in God. Why do we do what we do? We want people to tell us we’re worthy. We want to know that we have value in the eyes of others. We’re insecure about what makes us valuable as people. So, we do things to seek love and attention. God loves us because we are his children—not because of the way we appear or what we accomplish. His love is unconditional. Practicing the discipline of secrecy allows us to live in this truth.
Secrecy frees us to love others generously, unconditionally. We love because God loves us. He fills our love tanks so full that we can generously pour the overflow into others. The discipline of secrecy asks us to be generous, without being admired for it. To be giving, without being respected for it. To be selfless, without being recognized as so. The discipline of secrecy frees our love. We don’t expect others to love us back.
Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6:4
Prayer: Father, as I reflect on the discipline of secrecy, I realize how much I need Jesus. Too many times, I have sought my own reward for my efforts. Forgive me. Please help free me from seeking the approval of others. Free me to love them the way you do. Help me experience a life of security in you, God. Let me seek your reward. Amen.