In church last Sunday we continued with our sermon series on the Essential Jesus based on the Sermon on the Mount. The scripture reading for the day was Matthew 6:1-18.
There are three things that Jesus talks about in this passage of scripture: Giving to the needy, Prayer, and Fasting. Our youth minister gave the sermon, and she pointed out something I’d never noticed before. In talking about these behaviors Jesus does say “if” you do these things, but rather He starts with the word “when” – as in “When you give to the needy,” “When you pray,” and “When you fast.” He assumes those He is teaching will or already do these things and He focuses on how they should be done.
Giving to the needy, praying, and fasting are all desirable behaviors and they can each draw us closer to God. But Jesus says we should do them all in secret so that only He knows what we have done. If we parade our good deeds in front of men in order to gain their praise then the praise we receive will be our only reward. But if we do these things in secret so that only God knows, then we will be rewarded by our Heavenly Father.
As I listened to the sermon and pondered these words of Jesus, I thought about why I write this blog. I actually had someone ask me recently why I blog.
I have to confess that sometimes I become a bit obsessed with how many page views I’ve had and whether anyone has commented on or liked each new post. And I clearly don’t blog in secret – I don’t think that is even possible.
But as I thought about what is at the core of Jesus’ message – that our giving, our prayer, and our fasting need to be a matter of the heart that are all done to draw us closer to God and not to gain the praise of men – I realized I’m okay with my blogging. I know that in my heart I blog because the writing draws me closer to God and because it is a way that I can bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God to others.
God has gifted me with a talent for writing and rather than bury it in the ground and keep it a secret, He has called me to use it for the furtherance of His Kingdom. I am reminded of a passage from Romans:
But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:8-15 (NIV).
So I’ll continue to call on the name of the Lord and to be those beautiful feet that bring the good news of His mercy. I won’t keep His word and wisdom a secret.
Some things are meant to be done in secret so that only the Lord, who knows the heart, will see why we have done them. Other things are meant to be shared with all who will listen so that they will know Him, too. But all things are a matter of the heart and to whom it belongs.
My heart belongs to Jesus. Who does your heart belong to today?