February 11, 2019


Devotion for the Week...

Back when I was first pregnant with Nathan, we told Aiden and Zachary about the baby, but told them that it was just for us to know about for a little while. Aiden would have been 5 at the time and Zach, 3, and that Sunday morning all the kids were called up to the front of the church as usual. Pastor Hauna asked them some questions and let them answer into the mic. I'm sure you can see where this is going, right? I can't remember what she asked Zach, but his answer was, "There's a baby growing in Mommy's belly!"

Now, since he was 3, most people couldn't interpret the toddler-speak, but a few understood. Paul and I just burst out laughing. What else are you going to do? A toddler doesn't understand the concept of 'secret' very well.

That story is what popped into my head a while back when I read Luke 12:2,3, where Jesus said, "The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all. Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!"

Taking the verse in context, though, Jesus wasn't talking about secrets like what Zachary shared. He was talking about the Pharisees and their hypocrisy, warning His followers not to be like them. The thing is, the Pharisees lives looked good. To the average person watching them, the Pharisees would have looked like they were living right, with few obvious sins.

Unfortunately, it was all about appearances. The Pharisees were strict about how they lived, holding themselves and others to hundreds of religious laws, but they were so focused on living according to the rules that they forgot to seek God. Though outwardly they were godly, inside they were "hidden graves in a field," (Luke 11:44) as Jesus called them. He also called them "whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity" (Matthew 23:27).

The problem Jesus had with the Pharisees wasn't that they were living wrong, but that they were living right for the wrong reasons. Following all of those rules wasn't a way for them to draw closer to God, it was a way for them to feel righteous and to receive honour from those around them. Though they claimed God was the reason for everything they did, really it was their own need to be recognized for following the rules.

This, of course, begs one question: what is our motive for the way we live?

Do we go to church on Sundays because we want to worship God or because we know people will talk if we're not there? Do we put money in the offering plate because we want to help with the work of the church or because we feel guilty if we don't? Do we give of our time and money because we know it makes other people think better of us?

In Matthew 6:1-17 Jesus talks about giving to the poor and about prayer and fasting, all of which the Pharisees would do with great fanfare, calling attention to themselves so they could get proper credit for what they were doing. That was exactly what Jesus meant when He spoke about their hypocrisy. They weren't giving to the poor to help the poor. They were doing it to help their own image and it worked. Other people were duly impressed. God, however, was not. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get" (Matthew 6:2).
Weekly devotions on Christian living | DevotedQuilter.com
Though our motives might be secret from the people around us, they aren't secret from God. He knows what desires drive our actions, maybe even better than we do. One day, those secret motives will be made known to all, just like Zach telling the church about the baby to come.

When that time comes, will the recognition and acclaim we sought be all the reward we're ever going to get? Or will God reveal that He was our motive for everything, and He will be our reward?

1 comment:

  1. Love the "birth announcement!"
    I found today's post to be very thought-provoking. It's so easy for selfish motives to creep into our lives when we're not paying attention.


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