Editor’s Note: The AMI QT Devotionals from Aug. 15-21 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thought for Today
3 Therefore His brothers said to Him, “Leave here and go into Judea, so that Your disciples also may see Your works which You are doing. 4 For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.” 5 For not even His brothers believed in him.
The impulse to be known is undeniable in every person. And most of us not only want to be known, but we’d love to be known and adored by a lot of people – the more the better. If you told the average person that tomorrow (s)he could be famous for being great at something, it would take a lot of discipline not to jump at the opportunity—oftentimes, regardless of the cost. While fame is an unrealistic aspiration for most, the desire still exists within us. We see it in little ways when we insist on getting credit for something we did, unnecessarily mention our connections/ talents/ accomplishments (or those of our kids) in conversation, acquiesce to our environment so we can get ahead with the “in” crowd (whomever they may be), compare ourselves to show how we’re stacking up against others, or put on labels and brand names just to “stunt” (as they say where I come from) or show off. In all of these we feed this desire. A little while back I started to feel really ordinary, I guess, and I found myself, subconsciously, sharing about how not-so-ordinary I was during my high school days. Reliving the glory days of juvenile popularity… I caught myself, eventually, and shook my head at how silly it all was.
One thing I learned quickly when I became a Christian in college is that my mission in this world is to make God famous… not me, but God. Our fame and popularity are willingly submitted to the greater mission of making God’s name known. That’s a pretty humbling reality. And not in the fake way – you know when people give God credit for things they really feel like they did themselves as they soak in all the accolades – but in a genuine way, leveraging all we have, even at the expense of our own reputation, our own opportunities to shine, for God’s mission and God’s fame.
Who are you making famous through your life? Jesus chose to make His Heavenly Father famous and as a result was greatly exalted. What will we choose?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for all the gifts, talents, and opportunities you have given me. Help me choose today to leverage all I have to make You famous. Help me surrender my reputation and my opportunities to be known to You. Use all I am for Your glory. In Jesus’ name.
Bible Reading for Today: Psalm 143
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 6:1-6: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
5 When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.”
Questions to Consider:
- What is the danger of practicing righteousness before men?
- What is the promise that Jesus gives to those who give in secret? How does this encourage us?
- What are some ways you’re tempted to practice righteousness before men (do good for the praise of others)? What are some specific ways Jesus’ teaching can help you combat that temptation? What’s one practical step you can take to that end?
- Jesus warns us not against all public expressions of righteousness, but against expressions of righteousness motivated by a desire to be seen and praised by others. If we do good solely to garner the praise of other people, that praise will be our full reward. But if we do good to please our Heavenly Father, He himself will reward us greatly.
- Jesus promises that God sees and will reward. This encourages us because we know that nothing done is done in vain because God, the giver of all good gifts, is watching and responding to all that we do for Him.
- Spend some time in personal reflection.
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:10)
29 Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)
Spend some time reflecting on the promises from Scripture above. In light of our time in the Word today, how do these verses challenge and encourage you to leverage your life for God’s fame? Spend some time praying about these things with the Lord.