Why you do something is important. Consider two people who donate money to charity. One does it anonymously while the other makes it known publicly that they’ve donated. If I were to look at these two situations from the outside, I might conclude that one is genuinely seeking to help others, while the second may be interested in helping others, but they’re also probably interested in the notoriety that comes from giving.

I would hazard a guess that many of us would consider the anonymous giver the more “spiritual” of the two. They choose not to draw attention to themselves, but rather to the act of helping others. But maybe that’s not the case. Perhaps God is not calling us to be anonymous, but synonymous.

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Matthew 5:14-15

There is nothing anonymous about the city on a hill. It stands as a beacon for all to see, shining into the darkness, commanding the attention of all in the region as they approach it. The city was designed to be seen by others. It was designed to stand out.

God says you are that city on the hill. He is not calling you to anonymous living, but synonymous:

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

You are not a city on a hill for your glory, but for God’s. When you are practicing synonymous living, you aren’t hiding your identity; you are pointing to another. You may give or help others anonymously, but the act should always be synonymous with God. After all, it’s not really you that is giving or serving, but God working through you for His glory.