Who is my audience?


June 5, 2107

Dear Friends:

"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.”

Matthew 6:1

What is my motivation for being kind, generous, gentle, selfless?   Am I really prepared to be “forgotten” in the work that I do for youth and children, or do I have a hidden desire to be celebrated and applauded?

 

These are the things Jesus challenges me to think about. What are my motives? Whose attention do I want to command?  Are my selfless actions calculated or a natural reflex because of my intimacy with Jesus?

 

The happiest and most appealing people I know never seem to talk about themselves—-unless they are laughing about something stupid they did! These people are alway interested in listening to what I have to say and never seem anxious to interrupt and tell me their story.  They play down the good things that they do and constantly build me or some other soul up.

 

They appear to genuinely  forget about themselves and consider others as far more interesting and worthy or attention.   It’s been said that you can gain more friends in one year by being sincerely  interested in others than you can in a lifetime trying to get others interested in you.

 

If my motivation is God’s approval and smile I will, in every situation, be at peace and a pleasure to be around. But if I try to impress others—-even by my charitable actions——there will always be a suspicious eye cast upon my kindness and generosity.

 

I’ve always noted at camp that the best athletes are not the staff that tell me how talented they are, but those that quietly display it.  It’s the secret things that we do for Him, when no one else can see, that causes His face to shine upon us. And that approval brings release and purpose to our lives like no parade or celebration of attempted piety ever could!

 

Do I believe that He sees every “hidden” thing I am doing for Him and His children?  Do I trust that He, and He alone, will be pleased with the intention of my heart as I do acts of selfless love to those who never respond or even acknowledge my love?  Am I certain that He, the lover of my soul, is ready to bless me beyond what I can imagine simply because I love Him and want to behave in manner that brings honor and glory to Him—and comfort and encouragement to those He places in my path?

 

If I believe these things—-i.e. truly hold these things to be true—-I will not look for the approval of others in doing what is right.

 

Warmly,

 

Dean Barley

 


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