Today on the way to the church, I saw a woman pushing another woman in a wheelchair. The passenger was certainly an invalid, and looked to be fairly unresponsive to the morning walk/ride. I have seen these two woman on a number of occasions, and wondered what the relationship is between the two.
Now I have NO idea of her motivation. But I can figure that this is probably a thankless act, as are many which have been performed, and yet to be performed. But taking care of the needs of someone who can’t take care of themselves (emphasis on CAN’T) is just as ‘spiritual’ as going to a bible study. Showing mercy is to typify God’s people (Micah 6:8-love justice, show mercy, walk humbly with God).
No deed is good in and of itself (Romans 14 tells us that everything not done in faith is sin), but if done in faith honors God greatly. Deeds such as these are often considered less ‘spiritual’ and are certainly unnoticed by most. But biblically there is no dichotomy. God commands mercy, and Jesus commended doing things without the praise and thanks which come from spectators. Thankless acts honor God.
So I guess you could say that God smiles the widest when He sees such deeds done in faith (not for approval, but simply because we already have His approval), and not for thanksgiving and approval from others. His smile, in some interconnected way, brings us more joy than praise from people.