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Happy May Day!

by James N. Watkins

Posted: May 1, 2017

Sneaking around to do good deeds…a tradition in need of revival…



Jim's granddaughter Hannah (now 12)

“Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:4b, 6b,18b NIV).

There are some sure symptoms that I’m getting older. I remember the original “Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Brady Bunch.” Gasoline at twenty-five cents a gallon. The thin Elvis. Civil Defense films on “How to Build a Bomb Shelter.”

And I remember May Day. No, not the military parades in Red Square. When I was a child May Day meant sneaking around the neighborhood leaving bouquets of dandelions on porches, ringing the doorbell and then running for cover—sort of trick-or-treating in reverse. The most important element was secrecy. No one was supposed to know who did the good deed! Apparently, this tradition has gone the way of poodle skirts and black and white TV.

The Pharisees’ tradition, however, seems alive and well. From pre-school to the nursing home good deeds are rewarded with gold stars, public recognition, corporate incentives and awards banquets. It probably won’t get done if there’s no “Certificate of Appreciation” offered.

And yet Christ repeatedly warns the Pharisees—and each of us—that deeds designed to be seen by others will not receive eternal rewards. “I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full.”

Perhaps sneaking around to do good deeds is a tradition that needs reviving. Not only on May Day, but throughout the year.


Jim Watkins is a humorist, author, and speaker who says of himself that he "loves God, his family, writing, speaking and Chinese food—in that order"

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Posted: May 1, 2017

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