“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others 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 others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” ~ Matthew 6:1-4

This morning while I ate breakfast, I read a magazine article about people who dress up like superheroes on a regular basis.

While initially I thought the premise was a little crazy, the article captured my interest because these people don’t necessarily seem themselves as crime fighters, but rather do-gooders.  So after work, people in major cities across the country go home, put on a superhero costume and go out to help homeless people.

What a cool hobby!

The folks interviewed in the article give what they can in the way that they can, but they don’t want people to even know who they are while they’re doing it.

It seemed like the best illustration imaginable for the verses from Matthew, about doing your good deeds in secret.  I think so often we get caught up with desiring the accolades for everything we’ve done, that we forget why we’re doing something in the first place.  But these self-proclaimed comic book geeks are setting a great example for the rest of us, because they are not only not seeking recognition for what they do in the moment, they have taken things a step further and concealed their identity altogether.

Now, I’m not saying we need some kind of Captain America-like Christian superhero squad, but I do think it’s enough to make us stop and think why we are doing what we are.  If no one knew it was you doing the good deeds, would you still be doing them?  Would knowing the Heavenly Father knew be enough?  Or is the allure of human praise what is really driving us?

Examine your heart and motives in what you do for others.  And if you need to, pretend you are one of these modern-day superheroes – donning a mask and doing things for no recognition but that of the audience of One we should all be living for.  That is the greatest recognition of all.