a repetitive blogger, but G-Man wondered: Why some people choose to remain "Nameless." Even in the Bible there are people who do great things but not really a name.
"There's something pretty special about anonymity." - Unknown authorI like Unknown's stuff... he really does a great job. Gets around a lot, to.
Something that I heard during my formative years of Christianity was a piece of wisdom from Mike Swider, long-time coach of Wheaton Football and a motivational speaker. He said:
"Do something for someone else without getting found out about it. That will check your motives."Of course, this is merely a rewording of what Jesus articulated:
"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." (Matthew 6:1-4)This is more than a "Bible command" - it's a key to freedom through a highly subversive way of countering "approval addition." According to Jesus, we forfeit and miss a blessing when we do things to be seen by others... seeking a pat on the back kind of demeans the "well done good and faithful servant" words of God we might one day hear, stealing away the intrinsic connection to our Creator and replacing it with an external pat on the back from another person.
I think this is why some people choose to remain "nameless" in their acts of servanthood. When we do good for others without anyone knowing about it, we learn that the praise of other people doesn't actually matter. It's holding our tongue when in a room of people we are tempted to show off our knowledge of something... giving away money anonymously... filling someone's car up with groceries without them tracing it back to us... all of this allows us to taste true freedom, for when we practice positive secrecy we become less enslaved by a culture that hands out tropies for everything.
Side note - think about that for a moment... what are we saying to a generation of kids when "everyone gets a trophy?" There are times when this is appropriate, of course, but how often does the kid who works very hard get the same trophy as the kid on the sideline who picked grass? I had like two tropies growing up... and I had to work for them. I'm not trying to make a statement here... just wrestling with this myself. What does this create in them? How will this impact the world?
Secretly helping others feels good, doesn't it? Sure, we like the pat on the back and there are days I crave it. I think I'm honestly most vulnerable to it after I've put myself out there on somethinge... like after a message, I am most aware of my desire to receive affirmation from others. It's like a narcotic and it takes a lot of me choosing God over self in those moments to simply be content having been faithful to put the words out there.
The most joyful Christians I’ve known live for an audience of One. They don’t work to gain the approval of others—instead they yearn for the approval of their Heavenly Father. They agree with the Apostle Paul who wrote the Corinthians and said, “It is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
So here are a few ideas to get the ball rolling...
- Take the visitor counter off your web site/blog.
- Stop introducing yourself with a title.
- Pray for someone who won't return your phone calls... pray for them to see God in their day and taste of His goodness. And keep calling them anyway, because they matter.
- Leave anonymouse gifts on your neighbors doorsteps that have to do with things they like.
- That guy in your neighborhood who is gone all day and has the unkept lawn? Mow it for him.
- Downsize your car to avoid monthly payments... use the money you'd spend making payments to instead build a well in Africa.
- Memorize a book/portion of Scripture and live so deeply with it that it transforms you... but don't tell anyone you have studied and memorized it.
- The next time you can drop a name... don't. Nor the time after that. And so on.
- Pay for the car behind you on the next toll bridge.
Got another idea?