Don't Toot Your Own Horn--by Kimberly B. Southall

Do you ever "toot your own horn"? No, I don't mean a literal horn or a trumpet. That phrase means to draw attention to yourself for your own good deeds or accomplishments. Do you ever intentionally seek to draw others' attention to yourself when you do something nice for someone else? For example, if you do someone a favor, do you tell everyone else about the favor you did so that they'll know how wonderful you are? Did you know that, in the Bible, Jesus tells us not to do that?

"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." Matthew 6:1-2 (NIV)

Did you notice what else Jesus says if you do "toot your own horn"? He explains that if you do that, then the only reward you will receive is the admiration or applause of those here on earth who noticed the good thing that you did. And that might seem fine at the moment, but in the long run, it isn't too smart. After all, someday when you stand before God wouldn't you rather have something to show for all of your efforts? Wouldn't it be so much better to do good things for God than just for show to get credit from others? Don't you think that your heart condition would be much more like that of Jesus if you do nice things for others simply because you care about them since they are important to God? 

Now Jesus didn't mean that you have to hide or keep secret all of the good things that you do for people. No, it is okay for people to find out that you did something good. But it isn't okay for you to bring it to their attention on purpose just so they'll think you're great. Instead, you should do nice things for people because you care for them and because you want to please God. In fact, when people notice that you've done something good or nice, the best thing you can do is to give the credit to God. For example, if you have given food to the poor and someone else notices and says something to you about it, then you could say, "Well, God is so good to me. He supplies me with all the food I need and some extra, too, so I just wanted to share my blessings with others." Just think of the benefits of giving the God the credit rather than taking it for yourself. Maybe others will start thinking about all of the good God does in their lives, too. And maybe, just maybe, they might ask you more about God and give you the chance to tell them about Jesus and how He can save them.

You see, if your motives (the reason you do things) are the right ones, then you will be pleasing to God and will receive a reward far greater than just the approval of those around you. If you do things with a loving heart for God, then you will receive lasting and eternal rewards. And that is so much better than the result you'll receive if you toot your own horn.

Copyright © 2002 Kimberly B. Southall. All rights reserved.