Secret Agents

You log on to your favorite social media network, and you see all of your friends have changed their
profile picture to support some cause. As you scroll down, you see videos of them doing various “challenges” to
raise awareness for another issue. While these efforts to support a cause are laudable, recent research has
suggested that public, low-cost support of a cause tends to quickly fade. Researchers found, though, that when
someone supports a cause in a more personal and private way (writing a congressman, giving privately, etc),
those individuals remained more committed to those causes for a longer time.
 
Jesus knew this. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus repeats one phrase multiple times: “So that your
Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Jesus says that when we pray, when we give, and
when we fast, it should be in secret. Jesus spoke to a crowd where the religious leaders intentionally did their
good deeds in such a way that people would see. Jesus tells them that they received their reward in full.
 
Don’t get me wrong, there can be value in publicly standing up for a cause, or raising awareness on
social media. But it’s so easy for us to “receive our reward in full” instead of doing our good deeds in secret,
“so that your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”