Did you know that God has “secret service”? No, it’s not a team of armed men protecting Him. (Peter, Jesus’ only self-appointed protector, proved that his aim was pretty bad.) The “secret service” that Jesus recruits is all about our serving Him without calling attention to ourselves. In Matthew 6 this principle is applied to giving, prayer, and fasting. The key is motivation: If my reason for doing things like this is human approval, they’re worthless in God’s eyes and I get no reward from Him. What brings God’s approval is acts of “secret service” meant for His eyes only.
Matthew 5:16 seems at first to contradict this because there Jesus tells us, “let your light shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven”! The difference, I think, is motivation: If I am doing it for God and others just happen to observe, God is glorified and pleased.
One more thing about “secret service.” Those who guard important officials are focused on the welfare of the one they are assigned to protect—even if it costs their own lives. In this way, my service for God IS like that: My life is to be all about Him, no matter what happens to me.
…everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ … I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:7, 13)