The challenge of anonymity hits to the heart of what it means to live by the spirit, and not the letter, of the law. Living by the letter of the law will many times be accompanied by pride.. in this case the pride of giving our time and money to the Lord's work. Contrary to this Jesus speaks to us about the heart of serving and giving. He tells us that our service and giving should be anonymous and not bring attention to us but to God.
Almost four years ago I wrote a post about the overwhelming desire to be seen and how it affects the church today. I called it Invisible Ministry. Here is an excerpt from it:
For years I have battled with a phenomenon that I call "Invisible Ministry" ... you know, doing the stuff when no one is looking and doing the essential nonpublic forms of ministry. Much of this work comes under the heading of 'pastoral ministry' and I love doing it ... but ... I am almost choking as I write this ... I have been in a fierce battle with a dark part of me that wants to be 'visible'.It is no wonder why Jesus speaks so directly to this. The temptation to do good works (and make no mistake they are good works) to be seen is a dark force. It is the temptation to rob God of the glory due Him and to garner some sort of weird religious credit for ourselves.
The desire to be visible is a dark side of the ministry ... wanting to be seen and appreciated by people is a dark force that permeates much of American church leadership. Many large ministries and churches, as well as small ones, are led by men which have surrendered to the dark side of visible ministry. These men were, at one point in their lives, seduced by public ministry.
God deliver me from the temptation to serve to be seen.