November 7, 2011

Philanthropize. Don't publicize!

Photo c/o: Calma

Upon getting to know me, you'll learn that part of me is an old soul. Drinking tea is a daily ritual (whether it's July or November) and before you ask, the answer is "yes! I am a West-Indian".  I enjoy expensive scented candles and listening to my "David Carnes" Pandora station (It's a lovely mix of hymns on the piano. Don't knock it till you've tried it :) I enjoy reading devotionals, biographies, and articles that broaden my understanding of how to be a better person in the world. I'd much rather a good movie with a warm blanket than a night at the club. Don't get me wrong. I like a good night out. I love the arts. I love a good game night. I love to dance. Yet I realize that my typical type of fun isn't necessarily the same as the 25 year old next door.  One of the reasons I started this blog was to really explore my creative side. I love to cook. I like fashion. I'm a product junkie. I adore DIY projects. I love interior decorating.  All that is fun. However, my old soul really loves to write and learn about God. I've loved reading and writing since I was a little girl. For the past few months,  I've featured more creative projects with pictures. I'll still do that but writing is my first love and I've been neglecting it. Admittedly, writer's block coupled with the fear of rejection have made a dangerous cocktail. I've felt myself languishing in my writing because of fear that I'd disrespect the craft that I respect so much. However, the only way to get better is to practice. So whether I have no readers or 100 readers, I need to go back to the basics and what is true and natural to me. This isn't to say that I won't be still doing the other projects that I love. There will just be a lot more writing now. 

Now that the "pre-speech" is out of the way, I've been feeling the Lord pulling me to Matthew 6. I'm actively seeking God out through His Word and my aim is to really get to know Him. Sometimes, we say we love God but we don't really know Him. But, why am I starting at Matthew 6? So, Matthew 6 is a pretty popular chapter. Most times, Christians quote the verses 19-21 about storing up treasure in the right places. I just want to go a little deeper though. On my computer, I have a million bookmarks in their rightful folders. One of the bookmark folders is called "Jesus, God, Lover of my Soul" (I know I'm dramatic).That folder contains ALL of the articles, devotional thoughts, youtube & vimeo videos that have stimulated me spiritually. They've stimulated me so much to the point that I felt impressed to bookmark it for further study. When praying about where to start my study, I kept hearing people talk about Matthew 6. FB, conversations with friends, and sermons kept mentioning it. When I went to my "Jesus, God, Lover of my Soul" folder (you must say the entire name for the full effect!!), lo and behold, bookmarked at the very top was Matthew 6, the Message version. Okay, God! I got the hint. So let's break it up. Starting with Matthew 6: 1-4 for today. 

"Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don't make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won't be applauding. When you do something for someone else, don't call attention to yourself. You've seen them in action, I'm sure -play actors' I call them-- treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that's all they get. When you help someone out, don't think about how it looks. Just do it -- quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes helps you out." 

Don't you just LOVE how the Message version makes things extra plain? Now, some may not agree with me on my references and analogies but's my blog :)  Here we go! Now, I am not the biggest Beyonce fan. As a lover of music, I do appreciate the musical references she's including in her latest album. Her creativity is appreciated. Her work ethic is matchless and her talent is incredible. She's beautiful and one of the greatest entertainers of our time. With that said, you won't see me at a Beyonce concert. You just won't. I feel that a woman with that much talent, creativity and drive has no need for such overtly sexual marketing strategies that are consistently woven through her career's timeline. However, one of the things I deeply admire is her humility within her generosity. I remember being in conversation with someone who was bashing Beyonce because she "doesn't give". I was a fan of Destiny's Child and so I had a hard time believing that anyone from Destiny's Child wasn't giving back in some way simply because of their upbringing. I was right. Come to find out, Beyonce has donated millions to her home church and countless charities. The only way I knew that was because I did the research. When I read the aforementioned verses, I thought "Hmm. I wonder if Beyonce has read this and taken note". She actually applies this to her giving. Kudos! Some celebrities feel the need to share every charitable deed they perform and they also make sure a band of photographers and reporters are on hand to document the good they've done. According to God, that's the worst way to go about doing good deeds.  

Let's take it a step further and talk about consistency as well. Have you ever seen someone in church or school that was in a role where they were constantly seen? Maybe they were a pastor, singer, student leader, etc. When in front of everyone, they presented themselves as wonderful citizens of the world who were kind...or spirit-filled...or passionate...or genuinely concerned about other people? Yet when you meet them face to face, you wish you hadn't because they're so mean? When the spectators are gone, what's that person really like?  Consistency is so effective when it comes to being a Christian. 

Okay. What about you? In public, you're the loveliest person. Your personality says to others that you are a do-gooder. You put on an amazing performance at the job, at church, on Facebook and Twitter, but when you're at home, you're vengeful, spiteful, grouchy and you could care less. Newsflash!! Doing good is not a spectator sport.  

I think we all, at one time or another, can attest to fitting into one of these categories; some cases more extreme than others. Now, the goal is not to fit in to one of these scenarios and yes, it is an attainable goal. At the end of the day, I believe the keys are consistency and humility.  People can have a tendency to be one way in public and another way at home. That doesn't have to be the case. A former roommate of mine was the same crazy, loving, giggly spirit in public as she was at home. I always joke that the only difference was that at home, she had less clothes on. Be the beautiful spirit that you know, deep down, you should be. Don't make a show of it though. Be humble. If God calls you to feed the homeless, feed the homeless. Don't brag about it and then treat others as if you're better because you've done this great deed. If God calls you to send an encouraging word to a co-worker or a church member, do that. But, be consistent and do the same at home. Give an encouraging word to a roommate or a family member. At the end of the day, the One we should be aiming to please can see all. He knows your heart and unlike us, He can actually judge. Rewind to what I said about Beyonce. The way I knew about her philanthropic ways was because I knew about her former charitable endeavors with Destiny's Child and because I did the research. God knows the deal with us. He knows our upbringing and our propensities do certain things naturally. He's done the research. 
The jig is up.  

My "out of the box" (but contextual) example was Beyonce. 
Who or what comes to mind as an example of Matthew 6:1-4???? 

By the way, for those who didn't know, philanthropize is a word. 

philanthropize (verb):
promoting the welfare of others by the generous donation of money to good causes.


  1. I love this post! I have recently been spending a lot of time reading the sermon on the mount and those words are so powerful. I agree with everything you say here. I think humility and humbleness are qualities that don't get the attention they should from people. I think many are too busy using the world as their stage, and having a beautiful persona in public and an ugly one that comes out in private. Great post! Keep them coming!

  2. Thanks! I'm totally with you on the powerful message of the Sermon on the Mount. Glad you enjoyed the post. The message is one we all need to be reminded of. I will def. keep them coming! thanks so much for the encouragement! :)