You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 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. (Matthew 5:14–16)
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. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:3–6)
On the surface of these two excerpts from the Sermon on the Mount, it seems like Jesus is telling us to do one thing and then to do its opposite—to let others see our good works, and then to conceal them. So what’s going on here?
Should we hide our good works or not?
It seems to me that Jesus isn’t contradicting Himself, nor is He doling out two separate categories of good works (“do these in public and these in private”). Instead He’s providing a crucial insight for the Christian life:
When it comes to spiritual living, what is unseen significantly impacts what is seen.
Robert Murray McCheyne once said, “What a man is on his knees before God, that he is, and nothing more.” Those who faithfully invest to add value to the lives of others know just how true this is. Their investment doesn’t come out of a vacuum. Rather it comes out of their habit of going deep with God in prayer and worship when no one else is watching.
We need to remember this as we gather with the church this Sunday.
Our “good work” of worshiping God together in public must flow out of our daily devotion to Him in private.
The deeper we go with God on a daily basis, the more we will have to offer one another when we gather. So as you look forward to Sunday, go into your room, shut the door, and seek His face in order that your light may shine all the more brightly before others for the glory of your Father in heaven.
PRAYER AND REFLECTION:
- How would you describe your relationship with God? Is there a sense of depth to it? Or do you often feel like you’re missing out on something? Ask God to show you what it might mean to go deeper with Him. Pause wherever you are and lift your heart to Him in prayer and worship. At some point, you may want to talk to a Christian brother or sister who can pray with you and encourage you. You might also consider purchasing a devotional resource from LifePoint’s resource wall.
- Are you praying regularly for LifePoint? Prayer is the “first act of love, the first labor of mission.” Thus we all must be committed to praying for our church. Take some time before Sunday morning to lift up LifePoint in prayer. Ask God to work powerfully among us in order that we might see More Jesus in our lives, in our church, and in our world.
- What effect will this have on your participation in gathered worship? In what specific ways might you “let your light shine before others, so that they may… give glory to your Father who is in heaven?”
Set List for Sunday, February 17, 2019:
- Welcome the Healer (B. Brown, S. Curran, J. Johnson, B. Younker)
- O Praise The Name (B. Hastings, M. Sampson, D. Ussher)
- This I Believe (The Creed) (M. Crocker, B. Fielding)
- How Deep The Father’s Love For Us (S. Townend)
- More to Come (J. Ingram, K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)