16 “Whenever you fast, don’t be gloomy like the hypocrites. For they make their faces unattractive so that their fasting is obvious to people. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that your fasting isn’t obvious to others but to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
My heart is always warmed and inspired when I hear stories from people who have been remarkably and yet discretely helped by others, because it is a real testimony of the good heartedness of the helpers. My favorite scene in the Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life is when George is in dire need of money, and people come from all over to help him, telling stories of how he had done the same thing for them when they had no hope.
My heart also is inspired when I hear stories about my dad and the impact he had on people’s lives, things I had no clue about. People from all over intentionally reached out to Mom, my siblings and me to let us know how Dad had inspired them with his gifts of teaching and hospitality.
If you are a parent, nothing warms your heart more than hearing about good things your children have done for other people, especially when you didn’t ask them to do it—and they didn’t even feel the need to tell you about it.
Today’s scripture clearly states that God knows your good works. You might choose to “show” and “tell” what you have done, or you might decide to “hide” your good works and “seek” God humbly in private. Jesus is pointing out in this passage that it is much better to “Hide & Seek” than to “Show & Tell.” Those who show and tell will experience their reward only in this life, but those who hide and seek will be rewarded eternally.
I have been to many “Celebration of Life” services, and there is remarkable difference in the experience when you are celebrating a person who did God’s good will discretely with grace and who gave all the glory to God. I believe these stories give us a glimpse of the eternal reward God has planned for them, and they are also a comforting gift for the grieving friends and family.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- What will your “Celebration of Life” be like? Will God be glorified in more ways than you have made known to others?
- Opportunities for random acts of kindness are bountiful each day. What can you do today that only you and God will know about?
- Fasting is a means to strengthen your intimacy with God. Find resources to help you understand how to fast safely and effectively.