Thursday, September 3, 2015

Growing in Jesus - lesson 6 "Serving the Lord in secret"

Growing in Jesus       - lesson 6

Serving the Lord in secret

     “And whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance in order to be seen fasting by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face so that you may not be seen fasting by men, but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” - Matthew 6:16-18

                         If we sin in secret, will we not serve the Lord in secret?

     Lying is sinning in secret because we are trying to cover something up. We always steal in secret or else it will get taken back from us. We lust in secret. We covet in secret. We break rules in secret. Then why do we want public recognition for the things we do for God when is seems to be that the things we do in secret are the ones that matter most to us and are closest to our heart?

     So much of what God would have us to do is in secret. So many sacrifices of our time, help, money, care, work, and endurance are made with no one noticing unless we tell them. Our heavenly Father says that it is right and blessed by Him to do these things in secret that He Himself might be the one who rewards us. If we do things hoping to be recognized for our labors we rob ourselves of God’s rewards. However if we do things to be seen by Him He will bless us in another way. The thing about the Lord is that He is the master of giving good gifts.

     What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be.

                  Some of His good gifts are:

     _ His help in getting hard jobs accomplished.
     _ Arguments smoothed out.
     _ Providing for our needs on time.   (Particularly ones we don’t know we have yet because they come upon 
         us suddenly)
     _ Beautiful weather when there are outdoor things that can’t be put off for even one more day.
     _ Sudden opportunities to minister.
     _ Answers to prayer.
     _ Getting this lesson prepared.

     What does it mean to have your reward in full when we have done it for earthly recognition? 

     One of the problems is that the minute someone says we have done something amazing, we pretty much stop what we were doing because there isn’t any further reward to go on and because we find the reward only temporarily satisfying.  Or if no one thanks us for our work we stop because it feels like the job is too thankless to bother finishing and we just give up and become depressed. If our motives are other people’s opinion then we will soon find whatever we are doing to be unsatisfying.

     However, if we do anything for the Lord we will have a reward that doesn’t seem to be one that we can measure. Abraham’s reward is still growing and it seems to me that all of the Lord’s rewards are the same no matter what area of our lives it is in. 
     If you plant one seed of wheat and carefully watch over it, it will produce 50 seeds. (aprox.)  Then if you take those 50 seeds and carefully plant them they will turn into 2500 seeds. If you again plant those they will turn into 125,000 seeds and continue exponentially from there! This is the fruit from just 3 growing seasons! This is how the Lord thinks and works This is why doing things for Him in secret is the reward we should be looking for. His rewards are not shallow like a person congratulating you. Think about how if you ate the first seed you would have nothing to plant or if you ate the 2500 seeds the growth would stop there but by the third season there is so much available that now you can eat of it and have plenty to give away besides! Receiving the praise of man is like just eating the first seed. 
     We crave to have some immediate gratification for our labor so we eat it instead of planting it. Doing things in secret is to not eat the seed but to plant the sacrifice that it might grow into more seed. We may go hungry for 2 seasons of growing but by the third season there will spring up a reward for our secret labors unto God that is abundant beyond anything we can imagine. 

     If we think of any of our labors for the Lord in the 3 season rule we will have a much easier time understanding the seasons of waiting to be satisfied by our labors. But by the end of the third season there should be an abundance to give out to many as well as enough for ourselves!


     _  What do we think His good gifts are? Think about what some of them might be and write them out.

     _  Write out a verse or two that have spoken clearly to you either over the years or recently that helped you 
          hold fast to the Lord’s promises when you have waited for the Lord’s reward for your labors.

     _  What are some of the other earthly rewards we could look to that would seem to satisfy us but only will 
          for a moment instead of long term like what the Lord offers us?

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