“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”
Every morning a year ago, I’d sit on my couch watching for my colleague Carol to pick me up to take me to Creighton because I couldn’t drive. It was quite a change from my normal dash out the door at 5 a.m. to work out at the gym before a day of running around like a crazy lady at work!
And Carol wasn’t the only one I turned to during the long three months when I was on a walker with a broken ankle. My wonderful daughter Shanti did everything from driving me to appointments to running errands and working around my house. My friend Jane drove me to church. My friends Phyllis and Jeanne took me grocery shopping. My nursing professor friend Dianne brought lunch to my office once a week. My friend Merrilee did my laundry while we chatted over wine. Two sisters at my gym, Sonji and Therese, even tracked down my email, worried because I had gone missing.
These unpretentious friends who were my collective lifeline came to mind when I read today’s passage from Matthew because they exemplified the opposite of people who “perform their works to be seen.” No one ever listed things like “setting up Eileen’s computer so she could work at home” (Don and Tim) on an annual report detailing their community service. Everyone pitched in with no thought of recognition.
In excoriating hypocrites and people who make a public display of their goodness and service, Jesus teaches us to demonstrate genuine, selfless love of neighbor as those who helped me did. On judgment day, I doubt that God will care how many committees we’ve collected or how often we’ve appeared in the paper attending fundraisers but He’ll note those who fixed dinner for someone who couldn’t get out (Peggy and Gloria) or visited someone who was homebound (lots of folks).
I only hope that a few of the people I have named and others whom I omitted because my list is VERY long can feel me exalting them for such cheerful help. It’s the only reward I can offer, but it is the one that Jesus promised. Deo gratias!