Secretly Serving God
Daily Bible Reading – 1 Samuel 22; Psalms 17,35; Matthew 6
Today’s Key Passage – Matthew 6:1-18
Recently, I watched a television program about the United States Secret Service. While the Secret Service fills many roles in our national system of law enforcement, they are perhaps best known for their role in protecting the President. Every time you see the President in public, you can be sure that he is surrounded by Secret Service agents. The interesting thing about their protection detail is that most of the time you have to really be paying attention to spot them. The agents are not dressed in full riot gear or other identifying clothing that would announce their role. Instead, they are typically dressed in suits and attempt to blend into the background. What you might see on television are a handful of agents next to the President, but what you might not see are the scores of other agents who are also nearby. While these agents are on duty, they spend every second serving the President, and they do it without any fanfare and without calling any attention to themselves. Their service reminds me of the type of service Jesus talks about in today’s key passage.
In Matthew 6:1, Jesus says, “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” Jesus goes on to describe three unique “acts of righteousness” that should be done in secret – giving to the needy, prayer, and fasting. It is interesting to note that when Jesus speaks about each of these acts, he uses the term “when”. He says, “when you give to the needy”(Vs. 2), “when you pray” (Vs. 5), and “when you fast” (Vs. 16). This language indicates that Jesus expects that His followers will do these things; otherwise, He would have used the term “if”. As we look at each of these “acts of righteousness” individually, it becomes clear to us that Jesus is far more concerned with what is in our hearts than how we appear to others. When He talks about giving to the needy, He says, “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret” (Vss. 3-4) When He talks about prayer, He says, “go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Vs. 6) When He talks about fasting, He says, “put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Vss. 17-18) In each of these examples, Jesus is talking about our true motives. If we give to the needy, pray, or fast in order to impress other people or to show how righteous we are, we are missing the whole point. When we do these “acts of righteousness”, we should do them with the right heart. We should do them to be pleasing to God. We should do them because we recognize how fortunate we are to be called His children. We should do them in secret. When you do these things with the wrong motive of impressing others, you will have “already received your reward in full” (Vss. 2, 5, 16), but when you do these things with the right heart, then “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Vss. 4, 6, 18)
During your Bible reading today, what “key passages” stood out to you? Leave a comment below to share what God is showing you about His Word today.
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May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you today.