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Following My Wife’s Example of Works

Over the last several weeks, my wife, Michaelene, has been diligently working on costumes for the boys and I for the fall festival here in town. Diligently working on a costume that, I can guarantee, almost no one will recognize. The Boys and I are fans of a band called the Aquabats, and this year, as the boys trunk or treat, we will be walking around as the cheesy, almost always stupidly brilliant band. She’s labored, losing sleep, coming to bed at 2-3:30 in the morning almost every night for the last week, to make us happy. And, apart from my repeated (not enough) thanks, and forcing the boys to thank their mother, this may be the only recognition she gets for this costume we may only wear for one day! She does it because she’s their mother and my wife, and she works to bring us joy. What’s great is that she’s also found a skillset she didn’t realize she had, and was able to use her sewing machine more than she has before! And this, I think is the heart of Christ.


I’ve had minister friends confide in me that they don’t feel recognition. This last month was minister’s appreciation month (thanks to those people who deliberately went out of your way and made Michaelene and I feel special, you know who you are!), and many of them felt like they are not appreciated. I can understand and empathize, but really, honestly and truly, this isn’t what it’s about! To receive praise, or rather, to serve God and do acts of righteousness for praise and recognition is the wrong reason. And I think it’s what burns so many preachers out.


Many people serving in various church ministries sometimes feel the same way. However, we should serve for one purpose: we have been saved, redeemed, called sons and daughters of God because of what Jesus did. We read and study and go to church, sing in choir, and do whatever activities with our church family BECAUSE we are children of God wanting to spend time with our Father. We do our work and ministries BECAUSE we have been saved, and are children of God, working to please our Father. We seek fruits yielded by the Holy Spirit and raise others up into Christ and see people saved BECAUSE we are children of God who desire to see more people become as we are! So, I want to have a faith like my wife. Trusting that these acts of labor and sacrifice I do, mostly when no one else is looking, will please my Father, not because I’m trying to appease Him, or I can offer Him anything He needs, but because I love Him, and I want to demonstrate my Love for Him always.


Matthew 6:1-24


“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.


“Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 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. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:


“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.


For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.


“And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.


“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


“The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!


“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.





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