“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1)
Jesus mentions some examples of praiseworthy religious behavior: praying, fasting and giving to the needy. If we do these things, our heavenly Father will reward us, Jesus says. But He makes an important remark here. Many people in Jesus’ day, and probably just as many people nowadays, did these things with the wrong intentions. Their aim was not primarily to honor God, but “to be seen by other people”. They used their religious duties to show off. That makes their behavior worthless in God’s eyes! This is just an outward show, not living in God’s presence.
Much of our relationship with the Lord God may not even be visible for others. When we pray, we often do so “in secret”, on our own. When we give to the needy, others need not know about it. But that does not make it useless! Living with God has a worth of its own, independent of material reward or other people’s appreciation.
If we spend time with God, this is time well spent even though nobody may notice; for God does. “Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you”.