Who are you doing your good works for?

We have a bird feeder 12 inches from our kitchen window.  I bought it for Diane for Mother’s Day a few years ago.  When I put it up, she didn’t think the birds would come to it because it was too close to the window.  They do come.  Last night Diane and I both saw that the bird feeder was empty.

I’m sure she’s happy that it’s filled this morning.  If the birds could think, I’m sure they would think I filled the feeder for them.  If the birds could think, I’m sure they would think I bought the feeder for them.  I have nothing against birds, but I wouldn’t spend the money to buy the food for them.  And I don’t do it for me, although I do enjoy watching them.  I bought the feeder for Diane.  We buy the food for Diane.  I fill the feeder (practically every day) for Diane.  I do all of this because I love her.  If the birds could understand me, I would never tell them my primary motivation is to make her happy, even though they benefit from it.

This is an illustration of how we need to look at our good works while we’re here on earth.  We must do them for our Heavenly Father.  If it weren’t for Him and glorifying Him, we wouldn’t tithe to the church.  If it weren’t for Him I wouldn’t be going to the Good News Club at New Haven Elementary School today.  I wouldn’t do most of the good works I do.  Are there other benefits?  Sure.  Sometimes it makes me feel good when I do nice things for others.  Sometimes it helps them out.  Sometimes it even makes me look good in the eyes of others.  All of this is fine, but none of these other things should be my motivation for doing the good things I do.  I do them to glorify my Father in heaven because I love Him, just as I fill the bird feeder for Diane because I love her.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. ~ Matthew 5:16

(P.S. – As you can see by our window screen, our cat likes the bird feeder, too.  He sits in the window and tears at the screen.)

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