Focus Verse: “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”
Matthew 6:1 MSG
STOP SHOWING OUT! Is the three-worded declaration of obedience my mother shouted at me when I found myself in the midst of a grocery store temper tantrum. As the only child, I guess I felt that I was entitled to whatever I wanted on the shelves of the candy or toy aisle. This assumption of entitlement pushed me to think that if I put on a dramatic performance in public my mother would either give me what I wanted out of guilt or simply grant my request to quiet me down. Either way no matter how moving my public performance was it never fostered the response I sought from my mother in the first place. In fact it caused my mother to consider giving me what I desired even less.
Well: God, our Heavenly Parent speaks through his son Jesus in the midst of his sermon on the mount to remind us that as children of God, "Showing Out" will get us nowhere and nothing. Jesus reminds us that our good deeds and prayer lives ought not be broadcasted in public to be seen by others, but yet done in private to be noticed by God. In other words, Matthew records this particular sermonic moment of Jesus to tell us like my mom: "STOP SHOWING OUT!". Stop Showing Out by posting our personal prayers, tweeting our charitable donations and snapping our community service projects. For the reward of private practice is public prosperity! That, as children of God, should be our primary focus. In the midst of all we do, our aim should be to please God. As we find ourselves journeying through the Lenten season, a time that should be used to gain a closer relationship with God, I challenge us to search our spiritual selves. I also challenge us to examine our motives as it relates to our religious and moral affairs and to truly see if we are seeking opportunities to "show out" in our flesh or behaving in such a way that moves God to "show out" in our lives. Let's Pray!
God, challenge us to always seek motives of sincerity as we represent your kingdom. Prevent us oh Lord from showing out, so that You might show up. In Jesus Name, Amen!
"JMC is the place to be!"
Jamison Memorial CME Church of St. Louis, MO
Rev. Zachary David Mullens, Senior Pastor