I always struggle a bit when I hear this because it makes me feel as if maybe I'm not doing enough. There will be times when I get inundated with requests to help out with something and when I can't, I feel as if I'm not doing my part.
But as I wrestled with this, I thought of the following verse...
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV) ~
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But 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.
This is what is bothering me about it. Our acts of charity are to be quiet and secret. They aren't to be advertised all over the place. It shouldn't be "look at what I did or what I'm going to do." Just do it!
There is much that we've done throughout the years that we don't talk about. But when I read all these wonderful things people talk about, I start thinking, "I should mention that we did this or that." My pride starts to get puffed up. But then I come back to these verses.
None of Jesus miracles and kindnesses were advertised by himself. He didn't walk around saying, "Look at what I did." He was quiet and unobtrusive. He touched people's lives wherever he went without pomp and circumstance.
Let's continue to reach out to others and help wherever you see it. But let's remember the words found in Proverbs as we do it.
Proverbs 27:2 (NIV) ~
Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.