Shel Silverstein wrote a wonderful children’s story called The Giving Tree. In this story a boy has a friendship with a tree. When the boy is young he swings in the trees branches, picks apples, and plays King of the Forest. But as he gets older he spends less time with the tree. Each time the boy visits the tree he asks for favors, and the tree gives to him without questioning.
The tree never asks for anything in return from the boy. She never brags to all the other trees in the forest about all she has done to help him or makes the boy feel guilty for not giving back to her like she gave to him. The tree simply loved the boy, and she did it privately. She never called attention to herself. She never blew trumpets. She did her good deeds with a pure heart.
Too often our actions are good, but the motives are hollow. Time and again people serve and give not from compassion, but from selfish motives. God knows sincere faith and loves a pure heart. You cannot give while expecting to gain. You must give and serve in response to love and not for others approval or recognition.
As humans, we should serve and give, even if no one notices because we know there is One who always sees. (DJS)
1. What is the condition of your heart right now? Is it selfless or selfish?
2. Why is it easier to do the right thing when you will get recognition? How can you make sure your motives remain pure?