"Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men to be seen by them" (Matthew 6:1). Here, Jesus strikes at the core of human nature—the desire for self-glory.
When we perform acts of charity, “we are to give in sincerity, not to make a show of our good deeds, but from pity and love to the suffering ones," writes Ellen White. "Sincerity of purpose, real kindness of heart, is the motive that Heaven values" (Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, page 81).
Unlike the Pharisees, who prayed out loud in public for self-glorification, Jesus instructed, "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father Who is in the secret place; and your Father Who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6).
Jesus had certain places for communion with the Father. Likewise, we should find a place where we can pour everything out to Him and only He can hear.
"The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to others…the light, the peace, the serenity that rule in our hearts" (Ellen White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, page 85).
Jesus also urges us to "not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:19-21). In connection to this, we are to return a faithful title and support His work with financial offerings and our talents and gifts.
Also, He encourages whole-hearted devotion to Him, warning us that “no man can serve two masters” (Matthew 6:24). Instead of saying “will not” or “shall not,” He says that we cannot because there is no neutral position in choosing between God and anyone or anything else to serve.
Lastly, He says, “Do not worry” (verse 25), reminding us that He takes care of us and even the smallest creatures on earth. Instead of worrying, we are invited to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (verse 33).
On page 100 of her book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, Ellen White summarizes these principles, saying: "When we take into our hands the management of things with which we have to do, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we are taking a burden which God has not given us, and are trying to bear it without His aid.”
“We are taking upon ourselves the responsibility that belongs to God, and thus are really putting ourselves in His place. We may well have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it is certain to befall us. But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good, we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, for our will is swallowed up in the will of God."
In closing, may we have the true motive in service—to glorify not ourselves but God and God alone.
To learn more about this topic, read Ellen White's book Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing and download its digital copy at https://egwwritings.org/.