Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

It Is Only Jesus Living In Me

Mathew 6:1

Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Every year – on Memorial Day – and at other times as well – we are reminded of those who sacrificed – who gave it all – for our country and our country’s freedoms. We probably all have a family member or a friend or know of someone who gave the supreme sacrifice. Rows and rows of markers are in an American cemetery in Normandy – France – for instance – where the bodies of American soldiers are buried who gave their all to help free Europe.

The one monument that stands above them all is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. This is a tomb in Arlington Cemetery that stands as a monument dedicated to American service members who have died without their remains being identified. Cemeteries – military and otherwise – are filled with service men and women who either died serving their country or could have been killed as they served. My father served in the military and although he didn’t die during his time in service to his country – he served with distinction and honor.

Soldiers – deservedly – get metals and awards for their service. They rise in rank according to their abilities and their opportunities to serve. They are recognized for their service. Many of us thank them when we see them. Many go unthanked unfortunately.

Those of us who follow after Jesus are called – in an old hymn – soldiers of the cross. We are in His service and at times we are honored for our service. This week several who have desired to serve as pastors will be ordained in the United Methodist Church – recognition of their accomplishment and achievement. One of my friends will have his credentials transferred to the UMC from his home denomination after years of service with us.

Recognition is not a bad thing – but it does give the honor to the one being recognized. In reality – as servants or soldiers of the cross – all honor and glory should go to Jesus. If any honor comes our way – we should lay it at the foot of the cross – giving it up to Jesus.

In today’s passage – folks were being reminded that when they receive honor for some service for God – God doesn’t get the honor and so there is no reward in heaven (for us to again lay at the feet of Jesus). Here is today’s passage in partial context. Matthew 6:1–4 – 1 Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “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. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

To me this isn’t saying no one should ever see your good deeds – but rather – if we do our good deeds publicly to get praise from others – if that is our intent – then that is all the praise we will get. There were some who prayed publicly so others would marvel at how well they prayed. Others would only help those in need when there was a crowd around – again – for the praise of others. We should do good works at all times and always point to Jesus as the One to receive any honor. If I do anything praise worthy – it is only because of Jesus living in me.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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May 31, 2017 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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