From: Our Daily Bread
Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:4
When Denise met a hurting young woman in her church, her heart went out to her and she decided to see if she could help. Every week she spent time counseling her and praying with her. Denise became her mentor. However, some church leaders didn’t notice Denise’s efforts and decided to assign a church staff member to mentor the woman. No one, they commented, seemed to be taking care of her.
While she was not expecting any credit, Denise couldn’t help but feel a little discouraged. “It’s as if I wasn’t doing anything at all,” she told me.
One day, however, the young woman told Denise how grateful she was for her comfort. Denise felt encouraged. It was as if God was telling her, “I know you’re there for her.” Denise still meets with the woman regularly.
Sometimes, we feel unappreciated when our efforts don’t get recognized. Scripture, however, reminds us that God knows what we’re doing. He sees what others don’t. And it pleases Him when we serve for His sake—not for man’s praise.
Perhaps that’s why Jesus gave us an example by telling us to do our giving “in secret,” so that “your Father, who sees what is done . . . will reward you” (Matt. 6:4). We need not look to others for recognition and praise; we can take heart that God knows when we’re faithful in serving Him and others.
Lord, forgive me for the times when I crave others’ recognition and praise. Help me to serve for Your glory alone.
God sees everything we do for Him.
Gentleness and Respect
CBN, and Ken Barnes, author
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15 NIV
We must always be ready to defend the Gospel of Christ, but that does not give us the right to be harsh or disrespectful to people with different beliefs than ours.
“He is another one of those Moonies,” I said to myself with disdain. An Asian looking man had approached me in a parking lot and started to tell me what he believed. His literature indicated he was a follower of Sun Myung Moon, who founded the Unification Church, and whose beliefs were not consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine. Most Christians consider this group cultist. I impatiently waited for him to finish his spiel and then I let him have it. I told him in no uncertain terms that he was a part of a cult and I used scriptural proofs to validate my case.
I walked away thinking, “I guess I told him.” I was pretty sure I had defended the Gospel, but for some reason, I had a sense of unrest in my spirit. I pondered why I felt this way and it became apparent that I had not even come close to showing this man gentleness and respect.
I knew what I had to do. I searched the parking lot for this man. As I approached him, he must have been thinking, “Not this guy again.” I simply told him that I had talked to him in a way that Jesus would never have spoken. I asked him to forgive me for my attitude.
In our first encounter, it is interesting that all my theological arguments were like water off of a duck’s back. They are trained to counter these kinds of responses. But in our second interaction, he was visibly shaken. He had no comeback to a little bit of humility.
We should share the truth with people, but our theological truths need to be validated by the love and respect we show them. In my first little diatribe, it was all about me exposing my thoughts and beliefs. In the latter, I brought Jesus into the conversation which always speaks of the worth and value of the individual. I think, just maybe, this man saw past my words and saw my heart.
I learned two things that day. First, God can use our flaws for his good if we are willing to own up to them. Second, Christianity is more readily caught than taught. Yes, we need a proclamation of the good news, but without a corresponding demonstration of it, it becomes mere words.
As the poet, Emerson once said, “What you do speaks so loud that I cannot hear what you say.” Are we intent on just winning an argument or showing a little gentleness and respect when discussing the claims of the Gospel?
If you want to know the power of God (that is, the resurrection life of Jesus) in your human flesh, you must dwell on the tragedy of God. Break away from your personal concern over your own spiritual condition, and with a completely open spirit consider the tragedy of God. Instantly the power of God will be in you. “Look to Me…” (Isaiah 45:22). Pay attention to the external Source and the internal power will be there. We lose power because we don’t focus on the right thing. The effect of the Cross is salvation, sanctification, healing, etc., but we are not to preach any of these. We are to preach “Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). The proclaiming of Jesus will do its own work. Concentrate on God’s focal point in your preaching, and even if your listeners seem to pay it no attention, they will never be the same again. If I share my own words, they are of no more importance than your words are to me. But if we share the truth of God with one another, we will encounter it again and again. We have to focus on the great point of spiritual power— the Cross. If we stay in contact with that center of power, its energy is released in our lives. In holiness movements and spiritual experience meetings, the focus tends to be put not on the Cross of Christ but on the effects of the Cross.
The feebleness of the church is being criticized today, and the criticism is justified. One reason for the feebleness is that there has not been this focus on the true center of spiritual power. We have not dwelt enough on the tragedy of Calvary or on the meaning of redemption.