The tension of doing things to be seen

Near the beginning of the "sermon on the mount", Jesus teaches the following:

"Beware of practising your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven. ‘So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you."

The common understanding of this text is straightforward and literal - don't do acts of piety in order to be seen.

 “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” - Albert Einstein 

“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” - Albert Einstein 

The truth be told, there are some things that I do in my life in order to be seen - especially by my sons. I want him to see me be graceful toward others, so sometimes I act graceful even when I do not feel graceful - just so they will see graceful models. There are times when, as a pastor, you have to do things that you may not want to do in order to set a better model for others. I do not get the luxury of going to worship and just sit there and not talk with anyone - even if that is what I feel like doing. I have to be "pastoral" sometimes just to be seen and set a model.

Do you know how many times pastors go home or sit in their offices and scream or cry at the amount of venom they encounter? And at least half of our emotions are because we cannot do what we want to do or what others seem to have no problem doing. Pastors have to act in ways in order to be seen, not for bragging, but as a way to set an alternate model. And before we jump to the conclusion that pastors are hypocrites (which everyone really is), there are strong social pressures on pastors to be a certain way.

For instance, pastors cannot cuss, they have to wear suits (or at least tuck in their shirt), be older/experienced, etc. There is a pressure for a pastor to "look the part" and if they don't then there is an aura of suspicion. 

From internal pressures and external expectations, pastors are asked to do a lot things in order to be seen. And that makes this teaching of Jesus very difficult for church leaders. 

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Alb...