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Posts Tagged ‘Matthew 6, Matthew 6:3-4, Matthew 6:6, Matthew 6:17-18, audience of one, keeping a secret, doing things in secret, giving in secret, not letting your left hand know what your right hand is doing, fast’

Jo 12I can still remember the excitement on our five year old daughter’s face many years ago now, as she sang a song to us at pre-school, before presenting us with a special, secret Christmas gift she had made. The words went something like this:

I have a secret I can’t tell – I can keep it very well.

I have a big surprise for you – ha, ha, ha, if you only knew!

She had indeed kept her secret well and derived great joy from doing so. But there are other little people in our lives right now who are not quite so good at this. Take our youngest granddaughter, for instance. Sometimes when she becomes very quiet in our kitchen, we realise she is hiding and wants us to find her. We pretend to search in cupboards and behind doors, saying loudly as we do, ‘Where could Maxine be?’ We may even hear a cute little giggle or two. Eventually, she cannot contain herself any longer.

‘I here,’ she yells, ‘I under the table!’

Recently, she hid in her own bedroom at home. As usual, I called out ‘Where could Maxine be?’ and went searching for her. Soon I heard a faint giggle emanating from a strange lump under the covers on the bunk high above her brother’s bed. Surely she couldn’t have climbed up there?

But then came that little voice, ‘I up here!’ Again, she couldn’t resist sharing her secret—she was so proud of herself!

This week, I began to wonder if I am a little like Maxine myself, after reading Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:3-4:

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. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

I then came to verse 6:

But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Later, I read verses 17-18:

But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Hmm. How often do I opt for receiving those fleeting, little rewards here and now rather than keeping my eyes on God? After all, I like people to be duly impressed at times by my generosity, my holiness and my self-discipline. And, being a writer, I want people to understand how many hours I spend labouring in secret over this writing project or that. I want them to know all about the blood, sweat and tears that go into writing a book. I want them to admire my patience and perseverance. I want them to think how wonderful I am, working away quietly for God.

How much wiser it would be for me to forget about trying to impress others and instead remember that the most important Person sees everything I do in secret! How much better to remember I already have a special audience of one—the One who truly matters!

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