Do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. (Matt. 6:7)

IT WAS MR. J’S Sunday to lead prayer. I squirmed in my seat, anticipating what was to come. Being a child, I found his prayers the hardest to sit through because they were long, and he used big words that were hard to understand. Although I did not gain much from his spoken words, I admired the orchestration of his prayers.

Perhaps Mr. J’s eloquent prayers were a reflection of his occupation and the management position he held. Or perhaps, he was just a natural orator. Whatever the reason, he crafted his prayers in a way that drew attention to him and how he spoke.

Jesus warned in Matthew that we are to be careful not to draw attention to ourselves. When we purposely do good things to attract the attention of those around us, our motives are impure. We are self-centered. Our reward is the recognition we receive.

But when we do good things because our hearts and minds are focused on God, we store up treasures in heaven. Putting God first redirects our attention from ourselves to the One who will reward us eternally.

I can’t attest to Mr. J’s motives, but I can learn from his example. Our actions need to reflect humility and point others to God. When they do, our rewards will be eternal.

Act with pure motives, and reap God’s eternal rewards.

Sheryl Baker is a wife, mother, and grandmother. She likes to sing, read, write, and bring hope and encouragement to others.