Read Matthew 6:1-24; John 1:1-7
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
Finally, electricity came back to our parsonage and church. It had been ten long days since the power flickered and shut off. Ten days of living from sunrise to sunset. Ten days of showering in fire departments and state parks. Ten days of traveling for miles to wait in long lines to get gas. Ten days of sleeping WAY under the covers to keep semi-warm throughout the night. It took ten long days for us to see the light.
And here I am now, sitting in my office, reveling in the fact that I now have electricity and, with it, cable and wi-fi internet! Yet, there are many people who will go 11 or 15 or 30 more days without electricity. What’s more, there are many people who are now without their homes! I had only a small taste, if even that, of what many people throughout the Tri-State area are facing. I become saddened to think that many people will not get the relief that I received tonight with the restoration of electricity to my home.
And, in the midst of this, I see politicians on the news congratulating each other for jobs well done. Each politician, from all over the political spectrum, are busy looking good all the while people are still seeing little to no results in their neighborhoods. The reality is that there is not enough people to quickly do ALL of the work that needs to be done. And perhaps these politicians are doing the best job they can do; however, their celebration and horn blowing comes in the midst of real people really suffering.
Many people confuse serving God with serving themselves. It is very easy to cross that line, especially when serving God by serving others makes us feel good about ourselves. It is easy for us to want others to see what we are doing, and we often justify our showboating by saying that we are trying to set the example for others to follow. Celebrities are perfect examples of people who do things for the public to see “in order to be a good role model.” In reality, many of them are just as interested in selling their brand as they are being good role models.
Don’t get me wrong. This is not a judgment against celebrities, politicians or anyone else who are in the public eye; rather, this is a challenge for each of us to question what it is that we are doing, and why we are doing it. We should always be asking ourselves those questions in order to evaluate whether we are truly serving God or if we are truly serving ourselves.
Jesus taught his disciples to avoid putting things on for show in order for people to see. While the context is a bit different as Jesus was talking about prayer, the principle is the same. What are you here to do? Are you here to make yourself look good or are you here to bring hope, healing and wholeness to those in need? Are you out to impress people with your prayers, your charities, your fine dress, and your success? Or are you here to serve God to the best of your God-given abilities?
God calls each of us to live as Christ lived, to make ourselves a living sacrifice to God. What does that mean? That means that we will offer ourselves up to God, sacrificing our self-interest and exchanging it for our God-interest. We will drop our concern for our self-image, and we will start living out our God-image. We will drop all of our pretenses and start concerning ourselves with bringing true hope, true healing, and true wholeness into the lives of those in need. We won’t need to showboat what WE are doing to people because we will know that it is GOD who is doing the work in us, through us, and certainly in spite of us.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
What more approval do we need apart from God’s?
Lord, you are a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Guide me to where it is you would like me to be and let me be a living sacrifice for you. Amen.