Tuesday, February 17, 2015

100 Days on Jesus’ Sermon Mount (Day 38)

Jesus said, “... don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is up to, so that your charitable donation may be in secret; then your Father, who sees in secret, will give you your reward.
— Matthew 6:3b-4 (USC)
The cost of discipleship is like Peter’s denial, but it isn’t a denial of the Lord; it’s a denial of ourselves. Jesus has freed us in order to be individuals of the Kingdom, scattered like a diaspora in the world, but we only bring glory to his covenant intent when we say about ourselves – having come to know ourselves implicitly – “I do not know this man/woman.”
We have to come to know ourselves as sinners saved by grace – a wondrous reality – before we can approach the ‘unknowing’ of ourselves.
Once we have known and then unknown ourselves life has a carefree serendipity about it. Only as we have come to know ourselves do we gain the freedom to join Christ’s call and, therefore, choose to unknow ourselves.
In becoming unknown to ourselves – which is to detach from the power of our desires and empower the Holy Spirit’s capacity to renew us in the moment – we come to approach discipleship’s highest call.
We are able to do the holy things in secret. That being our intent, God honours it. What we do will not be found out unless it will be, in the Lord’s will, for the Lord’s purpose and glory.
The greatest individual satisfaction we can experience is having done something worthy in secret. Watch for what God will do! Yet, the surreal paradox is, we gain a passion for no reward; for no reward other than this reward of the Lord’s.
Our Lord sees in secret.
At once we do the noble thing, and we have the loneliest feeling that no one has noticed nor cared, we are effused to the Lord.
When the world is out of sight and out of mind and the mind and sight are saved for God, then we feel truly at home to ourselves. Having known ourselves and then having unknown ourselves, we have truly come to know ourselves once more – stripped bare of ourselves.
These concepts have a confusing language about them; but take heart: Jesus wants you to partake of him so even stranger concepts may be pondered and harnessed.
1.     Will you deny your ‘needs’ of acknowledgement and appreciation long enough to experience the richness of God’s blessing – an as yet untold experience?
2.     Secrets have great power. How can you unfold the secrets (blessings for others) God has willed for you to covertly unleash?
© 2015 S. J. Wickham.
Note: USC version is Under the Southern Cross, The New Testament in Australian English (2014). This translation was painstakingly developed by Dr. Richard Moore, a NT Greek scholar, over nearly thirty years.

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