Wise People Do Not Seek Praise

Do you like to be praised and noticed for the things you do? If we were honest, we like to be appreciated and praised. The root cause is feeling insecure and needing praise to feel accepted and validated. Or, do you know someone who makes sure they let you know how great they are and the good things they do? Do you think they have a self-centered need for people’s approval to feel good about themselves?

Jesus said that a wise person is the one who does what He teaches. In this next lesson, you will learn how to get our approval and reward from our Father in Heaven.

In Matthew 6:1-4, Jesus tells us, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.

2“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.

3But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

This passage begins with the word “beware,” which means to be careful or cautious. Why would Jesus begin with the warning to be careful? He knows we struggle with self-centered pride that desires human approval. It is tempting to make sure others notice our good works or right living to feel acceptance from people we admire. Wise people fear God and seek to obey and please Him, not people. Wise people care more about God’s approval than man’s approval.

What are some things we do to practice our righteousness before people? The second verse answers this question. The words “thus, or “so when” are followed by an action. For example, “Thus, when you give to the needy.” It is okay if people see you giving, but when you announce it to receive praise or compare yourself to what others give, that is what Jesus warns us not to do. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

Why is giving to the needy a work of faith?

James 2:14-18 explains, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  Giving to the poor also shows that you are a follower of Jesus Christ. Mark10:21 states, “And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.’” Again, Jesus is testing the motivation of the man’s heart, which He already knew. Our reward will be the treasure in heaven.

Examine your motive for giving. If public notice is the motivating factor, then it is your only reward. Our motivation for giving to those in need should be out of love. 1John 3:10 tells us, “By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” Loving others is evidence that we love God. 1John 5:2-3 states, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”


God’s reward for the good we do is immeasurable. Luke 6:38 states, “Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Also consider what King Solomon said in Proverbs 19:17, “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.Proverbs 11:24, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.Proverbs 11:25, “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

I pray God blesses you as you practice righteousness to gain His reward.

Author: Joyce Holzman Hanscom

I teach incarcerated women in the county jail about how to discover a new reality for their lives. Discovering a new reality is achieved when you heal emotions from painful memories and transform negative heart issues. When false beliefs are transformed by truth, then you can love from a pure heart and make wise decisions.

2 thoughts on “Wise People Do Not Seek Praise”

    1. Yes, I do like it when people are grateful, and the Bible wants us to be thankful. I make it my aim to have a servant’s heart and to serve others or give not for a compliment or a thank you, but as serving God. I have been pondering Luke 17:9-10 (ESV) “Does he thank the servant because he did the things that were commanded him, I think not. 10) So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say “We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.'” Interesting passage, not sure what to think, but it is humbling.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: