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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sermon on the Mount, Day 20 of 40: Humility in Service

Matthew 6:1-4
Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them.  If you do, you will have not reward from your Father in heaven.  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.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing so that your giving may be in secret.  Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

There is a saying (not sure who said it first) that everyone wants to save the world but nobody wants to help mama with the dishes.  Saving the world would be a glorious achievement, one that would make you world famous and probably rich.  Doing the dishes is a thankless, unremarkable drudgery, and we don't like to do it.

People love recognition whether they like to admit it or not.  A recent survey by the Boston Consulting Group of more than 200,000 people found that recognition for their efforts and achievements ranked number one on their list of things important for "on-the-job happiness" and pay ranked number 8.  We are a recognition hungry culture.

Enter Jesus.  He gives us two rules for serving others:

1) Don't toot your own horn
2) Don't advertise your good deeds

The point being that a Christian's service should be done for the glory of God and not their own.  When service is rendered for our own glory then the service is done in vain.  Our motivation for doing good should flow from our love of God and our faith.  A spirit of humility should govern our service.

Christian service when motivated by love and faith will act as its own reward, resulting in greater joy and peace and a greater and deeper relationship with God.

I once knew a couple who felt they were being called by God to deal with the closet supply problem that had existed in their church for years.  The closet supplies included such things as cups, plastic spoons and forks, paper plates, napkins, etc.  It seems that every time the church needed them, they were not on hand, and this had become a great aggravation to many in the church.  No one was looking after these supplies and no one would step up to manage them.  Finally, this couple, who felt this was their calling, quietly began managing this problem on their own, without telling anyone.  It was like magic.  The supplies never ran out.  The shelves were always full of everything people needed.  And it was years before people found out who was doing this.  I will never forget this example of quiet Christian service.

God calls a few people to save the world.  He calls a great many more to help mama with the dishes.

Tomorrow we study humility in prayer.

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