(Matthew 6:3-4 NIV) “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 25:21, 23 NIV) “His master replied, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!””

At a conference with John Wimber over three decades ago I heard him make a comment that has always stuck in my mind and that I often return to: “Everything we do is for the Audience of One.” He meant God, of course. His point was that we do not seek the approval of humans – rather we seek God’s approval. We do not perform our works, speak our words, or live our walk for the world. They are for Him alone. We do not perform for people to see or to earn praise from others. What we do and who we are is for the audience of One. All we want is ultimately to hear God say to us: “Well done, good and faithful servant!…Come and share your master’s happiness.”

I don’t know if Wimber was the originator of the phrase, “for the audience of One,” but the songwriter and storyteller Bob Hartman wrote a song which he called ‘For the Audience of One.’ It has a line, “I don’t want be a man-pleaser, I want to be a God-pleaser.” I’ve since also seen the phrase used by Os Guiness: “In working out our callings, we are to perform for one audience, the audience of One.” (The Call: Finding and Fulfilling the Central Purpose of Your Life 2003:74) Anne Graham Lotz also referenced this phrase: “The organised church sometimes puts boundaries on us that the Bible doesn’t. So, I’m living my life for an audience of one. I live my life to please God. Some people won’t understand, but I don’t give an account to some people.” (Taking The Reins of Billy Graham’s Legacy www.npr.org 2011)

Regardless of who first coined the phrase, I think it encapsulates a profound biblical truth. Matthew (Matthew 6:1-18) points out that our Father God “sees what is done in secret.” Whether or not we consciously choose to live our lives for the audience of One and conduct ourselves in the knowledge that God is watching, this truth is made plain. God sees the motive behind our works. He hears the motive behind our words. He knows the motive behind our walk.

May we each be God-pleasers. May our works, our words and our walk be “for the audience of One.”