Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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February 14 – Bringing Glory To God

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.  Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.  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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”  Matt. 6:1-4

Devotional Thought For The Day

The concern here is not just the “public” nature of our life in Christ, the free gift of righteousness which He has provided for us in His atonement for our sins, which we receive through faith in Jesus – by faith alone without works [Gal. 2:16], and the life of faith which reveals itself in all manner of kind and charitable acts.  After all Jesus encourages us: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” [Matt. 5:16]  The concern is with motive – are you doing the good works “to be seen” and “praised by others,” to get something for yourself.  Because love does not seek its own [1 Cor. 13:5], works done for self-aggrandizement [or any other selfish motivation] are not truly “good” works, and yield no real reward, certainly none from God.  Since all good comes from God, and given the reality of the darkness of our sinful nature, any good done by a human being is a miracle of God’s making; therefore, any and all good should bring glory to our Heavenly Father – and never to ourselves.

The “secrecy” of our love, charity, and giving to others has to do with our relationship with God.  They are done to Him, first and foremost, because of His great love for us, His gift of forgiveness, accounted righteousness, salvation and eternal life, and hence out of love for Him.  If our good works are done out of this context, a loving relationship with God based in His wondrous love for us, then we will avoid sinful pretense and currying favor and reward from others.  Our aim will be the glorification of God – and we will understand and live what John the Baptist observed about his own important ministry:  “He must increase, but I must decrease.” [John 3:30] This will always feel painful, especially in the presence of the hypocritical who spout about their “good works” and elevate themselves publicly – who get the awards and accolades of men, and then use this “prestige” to put down others.  So we must remember – “they have received their reward” and will have no reward from God.  Of far greater importance is to have the approval of God – for truly good works that are done out of genuine love, the love that comes from His great love for us through faith.

Now that we have entered into the season of Lent, a time for reflection, repentance, and contemplation of God’s great love for us, Jesus’ love for us in His self-sacrifice which brings us forgiveness, cleansing, and restored relationship with God, and eternal life, we can also consider the nature of our living and doing, and our “service” to God and others.  God’s Word directs our hearts and minds back into the love of God [2 Thess. 3:5], and this is where all true goodness comes from, where all truly good works are born.  So let us spend time in this privacy with God, truly repenting of our sins, and rejoicing in His love, praising Him for His gifts of life and salvation.  Then our “goodness” will be “in secret,” our left hand not even knowing the good that our right hand is doing.  This is pleasing to our Father in heaven, and brings His richest blessings into our lives, His great reward.

Scripture Cited

2 Thess. 3:5  “May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.”

Prayer For The Day

Dear Heavenly Father, our nature is so corrupt that we can hardly do anything without some calculation of self-interest.  Likewise, our pride is such that we always want some recognition, some elevation for our “good” works.  Have mercy, Lord, and forgive us.  Humble us and direct our hearts into Your love that we may do truly good works – and bring glory and honor to You.  Amen.