What is a good witness? That is something everybody talks about. We have every idea from living a good life as Jesus did to others who give specific instructions how to be viewed as holy. One of the problematic things in having a good witness is whether you should do something if it becomes too public. It’s a good question and deserves an answer.
One of the churches I volunteered at was Southland Christian Church. The ministry I helped with was the Backpack Ministry. We served children and periodically would announce the numbers in worship services. Some began to question this element and would say that this was a direct contradiction of Matthew 6:1-8 along with other similar verses. This was very tricky. How were we going to practice faith and maintain secrecy?
Part of the issue when people ask these things is not fully considering all the elements of this passage. One must consider that Jesus was speaking against loud and proud religious leaders who wanted to lift their popularity. Jesus wanted His followers to not make attention the goal of their works. If you think about this passage, Jesus never actually prohibits actions.
Another reason to not be set on secrecy is that passages such as Romans 2:16 and Matthew 10:26 show us that secret things will be revealed whether good or bad. All things will be seen for what they are, so doing good things is important.
Another passage to consider is Ecclesiastes 12:14, which shows us that all acts will be judged. In light of what Jesus says and what the New Testament teaches, works will not be the sole basis of judgement. Faith will be the reason we enter the Kingdom. But according to these verses, works will play a role in judgement. It will not define your guilt or innocence, but it will show our heart’s desire, and where things are unclear, God will show what is inside us.
Tony Evan’s once said that the Church has the keys of heaven, but that they are not our keys. They are the keys of God and His Kingdom and he has given us commands on opening the doors. We should do works, because they are the expression of our faith. This faith is an expression of our willingness to follow God’s will. Without these works, our faith will be judged dead (James 2:17). We have a responsibility to do the works we were commanded to do so that King Jesus will be glorified. Let us not ever quit the work, regardless of secrecy or publicity.
What works do you avoid in the name of secrecy? Should we do more in the name of Jesus?