We live in a world where outward show is widely applauded and appreciated. We love to see something spectacular in all things. What happens behind the scene is only secondary.
Consider how media projects certain products or persons. There are plenty of agencies who create attractive ads by which any product, person or issue is promoted and people blindly follow them without considering much about the reality. They assume that the well known product is the best; famous and prominent are worthy of honour and the most talked about issue is genuine.
Such a scenario makes many to think that in every thing there ought to be something impressive; or else people will not value us.
The word of God teaches that similar attitude can creep in our spiritual activities too. Intentionally or unintentionally we may tend to conduct a particular service or program, just for the sake of showing off our power, name or position. In Matthew 6:1 The Lord Jesus Christ warns us against it.“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.” (ESV)
Jews of His time displayed their piety in public for self-glory and promotion. They gave to poor with much fanfare, made long prayers in the public and made known their fast with sad appearances. They had no hesitation even to glorify themselves before God. Luke 18:11, 12. The Lord says unequivocally, they who do such things are hypocrites. Cf. Matt. 6: 2, 5, 16. It’s only acting; there is no truth behind such activities.
We see similar indicting declarations in the Old Testament too. In the book of Isaiah and Amos we see the Lord telling them that He is tired of bearing their lip service. He even says that He is not at all delighted in their sacrifices and He will not listen to their prayers. Cf. Isaiah 1:11, 14; 29:13; Amos 5: 21 – 23. How sad is such a state. Still it is possible if we do not take care as the Lord warned us in Matthew 6:1.
Do not forget, our best spiritual service could be a trouble to the Lord! Our prayer, preaching, giving, fasting etc could be unacceptable and corrupt before God. He does not merely look to the external extravaganza, but looking for sincere love and devotion from our innermost being. He is not at all impressed by our outward show; on the contrary He is so displeased and pronounces it loudly.
How seriously we must take heed of this truth. We may be able to gather public support and admiration by cleverly conducting a religious activity. But we can not escape the all-seeing eyes of the Almighty God who hates our self-promotion and ambition. Not only it’s hypocrisy, it’s a waste of time and effort in the sight of God. Man may take note and honour us but there is no reward from God.
Of course we can not judge other’s activities for we do not know the secrets of man. 1Cori 4:5. Nevertheless, we ought to judge ourselves. 1Cori 11: 31; 2Cori 13:5. Why do we sing, pray, preach, give etc? What is the motive behind some of our spiritual services? If we have created a façade to impress man, be ready to pull it down and be true in and out.
Definitely, the Lord knows our intentions and one day He will reveal it and even recompense accordingly. Ecc. 1214; 2Cori 5:10. Let us make sure that whatever we do today is for God’s glory alone. Refuse to draw any self-gain out of a spiritual activity. Let us be happy to be unknown to man but known to God. 2Cori 6:10. Let us patiently wait for His appreciation and reward. No man can judge our life and performance, so why worried over man’s approval.
Let the Lord Jesus Christ alone be pre-eminent in all things that we are engaged in. May His name alone be glorified and exalted through our life and service.
Beware of Covetousness – the heart. Luke 12: 15
Beware of Men – the mind. Colossian 2:8; Acts 20:28 – 31.
Beware of False Teachers – the path. 2Peter 3: 17.
The Worth of a Name
Robert E. Lee of great military fame was approached after the Civil War by the managers of the infamous Lottery Louisiana. He sat in his old rocking chair crutches at his side, and listened to their proposition. He couldn’t believe his ears; he asked them to repeat it, thinking that he could not have heard them aright.
They said they wanted no money from him, all they wanted was the use of his name; and for that they would make him rich. Lee straightened up in his chair, buttoned his old grey tunic about him, and thundered, “Gentlemen, I lost my home in the war. I lost my fortune in the war. I lost everything in the war except my name. My name is not for sale, and if you fellows don’t get out of here I’ll break my crutch over your heads.”
Matters for prayer: -
All India Workers’ Conference
Gospel Fellowship Trust of India (GFTI) is organizing a conference for commended full time servants of God and other assembly leaders in India. GFTI is a premiere service agency among the Brethren Assemblies in India, at present serving over 900 full time workers who enjoy current commendations of their home assemblies from all over India.
The four day conference will commence on 16th October 20102 at TWR camp center, ECR, 90 kms away from Chennai in South India. The speakers include Bro. Paul Young UK, Bro. William Yuille Canada, Bro. Allan Wilks USA, and Bro. John Kurian India.
Apart from about 550 English speaking evangelists, the organizers expect few assembly elders and leaders from across India and even abroad. This is the 18th conference GFTI is arranging, the last one held in 1998.
Kindly uphold this special get-together of the Lord’s servants. For more details kindly contact firstname.lastname@example.org(Mr. Koshy Zachariah) or email@example.com(Mr. Shaji Philip).
Matters for prayer: -
Short term Bible School Maharashtra, India
Maharashtra Evangelical Trust, an assembly based organization has prayerfully decided to hold a short term Bible school for six months from 15th September 2012. The programe will be held at Christ Shishyalaya, Bhuigoaon, Nallassopara West, Thane District.
Though few brethren have taken some initiative in the past to conduct such short term classes for new believers in Maharashtra, this is the first time such a Bible school is being arranged in a systematic manner. Pray the efforts will bear fruit and many young men of Maharashtra will be able to learn the word of God in a systematic manner in their own language. For more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org (Bro. Amis Lopes)
“A bad man is worse when he pretends to be a saint.”
_____________________ Francis Bacon
“One may smile, and smile, and be a villain.”
_________ William Shakespeare