“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.” Matthew 6:5
Do I long for people to know how amazing I am in faith?
Am I expressing my faith for myself or for others?
Why do I do what I do?
“But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” Matthew 6:6
This is something I wrestle with. I hear constantly how important it is to share my faith. My church and presbytery are wrestling with the idea that we need to grow and change. They want to grow. They want a wave of the spirit to over take our area. It’s all well and good but I have to ask what Jesus wants. What does Jesus want? Where does Jesus want us to go?
And so I pray. But my prayers contain questions and I’m still looking for answers. Where is the church being led? What comes next?
And now back to the topic at hand…
Why do I muse about God?
Do I do it for fame and fortune? I don’t think so. It’s not exactly lucrative and I’m definitely not famous!
Do I do it for attention or praise? Sometimes I admit I get sucked into praise and I like it but I don’t do it for praise (I don’t think). I’m not really a fan of too much attention (although I don’t mind it). I guess it’s a pitfall of being at the front, of leading others in their journeys. How do I stay centered and focused on what really matters?
This text is challenging.
This text is challenging to me on a personal level. I have a blog. Do I do it for attention? So that people can see how faithful I am? Or do I do it for reflection and as an outlet for my thoughts.
This text is challenging to me on a professional level. Why do we do ministry in the first place? Do we have our hearts centered on what really matters or have we forgotten and shifted our focus? Are we too concerned with getting noticed and being people of importance to do the work we are called to do? Do we want to be seen or do we want more?
This text is challenging to the church as a whole. Are we to be like others who stand up and shout about their greatness or are we to do great things? Do we want people to come to Jesus because we’ve been Christians or because we call ourselves Christians? What is our place in society?
It seems like this text is a reminder that we are to focus our energies and attention on God. Too often in life we push Jesus to the side and really get excited about things that don’t matter (like attention, praise, the celebrity and excitement). Too often we find ourselves jealous of other’s ministries, of other’s gifts and other’s opportunities. Perhaps if we just took a step back, went into that quiet room and prayed with God we’d find our own opportunities.
Now is the time to move forward with God. Now is the time to find our own opportunity. It’s happening now. Perhaps if I turn my attention away from the distractions of life and focus on what really matters I’ll find the answers I’m looking for. I guess I’ll go sit in a dark room for a while.