Monday, October 21, 2013

Mask- Dropping and Our Spiritual Self

What a wonder that God knows us- and loves us!
Jesus seemed to know what motivates human beings. His insights are all over the four Gospels: "Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention...don’t blow your trumpet as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets so that they may get praise from people. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get...Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you." from Matt. 6:1-5 (CEB) 

The Father's reward is more life, love, light. Clergy of all kinds are at risk of gaining the recognition, praise, adulation, "to be seen" in our nice garb, by many thousands, on cable, on the networks, at the cost of what we need most: seeking and receiving God's presence in the secret place.

Part of what draws me to Matthew is the sense of caution and warning it contains from Jesus for those who want to be right, mainline, conformist, and those who want to be considered properly religious. These are things that are important for those who want to be seen, to be praised. After all, how can Levi, the tax collector, really be a follower of Jesus? What right does he have to have a Gospel named after him? 

Nowhere does Jesus indicate that numbers, huge or otherwise, is a way to evaluate his mission, his work, or his person. Nor yours or mine. We confuse and distract when we replace dashboards of results with the cause of movement and transformation.  Instead, following Jesus begins and ends with what moves us. And what empowers us first works in us because of the life, love, light that the Father gives! 

That gift is found in the secret place, not with any words spoken in public- in the spotlights of arenas and sanctuaries. Unlike your latest shred of favorable data for corporate success, it's treasure that cannot decay, nor be stolen. (Matt. 6:21) 

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