February 14, Sunday

REPOST Today’s AMI Devotional Quiet Time, provided by Christine Li, was first posted on October 11, 2014.  Christine, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, serves as a deaconess at Remnant Church in Manhattan, New York.  

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“In Secrecy, before the Lord”

Matthew 6:2-4

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.”

We live in a world where we are taught to be seen and heard, and put ourselves “out there” if we want to succeed. I’ve never heard of a self-help book that teaches its readers to keep their head down, stay quiet, and just hope for the best. 

So why does God reward the prayers, the deeds, and the fasting done in secret? Why is it so imperative that we do these things in secret? I believe there are two reasons: first, God knows that our hearts hunger for earthly rewards; and second, God wants to give us greater joy when we serve. Christ is so stern here in Matthew 6 about how we should give and love because He knows the guidelines will test our heart of love; and by readjusting our motives, He will be able to give us the things from Heaven, more than the things of Earth. 

Do we truly desire only the reward that comes from Him? That means that the reward will come fully in Heaven and perhaps not in the present moment. Do we truly desire only the praise that comes from Him? Then that means we must forgo the praise and accolades from the people around us.

Many people have prayed along the lines of what John the Baptist said: “He must increase, but I must decrease,” but how we often fall short from that. It is much more than trying to avoid receiving compliments or thanks, but it is a reflection of our hearts and our attitudes when we begin to pray and serve His people. Let’s ask God for help in examining our hearts in this area. 

Are we willing to lay low in our devotion so that only God knows our heart? And are we willing to be so invisible in our service so that we don’t receive the praise from men, but only praise from God?  

Prayer: Father, thank You that You not only want to correct us, but also desire to give us the greatest treasure of all – more of Christ. Help us to live our lives as invisibly as possible, that Christ may shine through us, unobstructed by our egos and our desires. Be the treasure that we desire more than anything we can get from this earth, and may You receive all the glory and all the honor from the way we live our lives. Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Philemon 1

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