Sermon Preparation -
February 17, 1999
When you do good deeds, don't try to show off. If you do, you won't get a reward from your Father in heaven.
When you give to the poor, don't blow a loud horn. That's what showoffs do in the meeting places and on the street corners, because they are always looking for praise. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you give to the poor, don't let anyone know about it. Then your gift will be given in secret. Your Father knows what is done in secret, and he will reward you.
When you pray, don't be like those showoffs who love to stand up and pray in the meeting places and on the street corners. They do this just to look good. I can assure you that they already have their reward.
When you go without eating, don't try to look gloomy as those showoffs do when they go without eating. I can assure you that they already have their reward. Instead, comb your hair and wash your face. then others won't know that you are going without eating. But your Father sees what is done in private, and he will reward you.
Don't store up treasures on earth! Moths and rust can destroy them, and thieves can break in and steal them. Instead store up your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy them, and thieves cannot break in and steal them. Your heart will always be where your treasure is. [CEV]
1. The season of Lent begins with a focus on our relationship with GOD being primary. Do you have an eye on GOD as you interact with others and as you make resolutions to simplify your life?
2. Do you look for short-run actions to blossom into long-term benefits? If so, keeping quiet in the interim between today's action and tomorrow's benefit is appropriate. This is another way of saying, Trust.
Do you look for short-run actions to bear instant gratification? If so, go ahead and claim your rights. Get what you can get while you can get it. Simply be aware that this approach tends toward workaholism because each reward bumps our addiction upward and it takes more and more to satisfy.
3. The fear of protectionism and getting every last bit due one leads to spoilage. Joy and Freedom become outmoded as we are hemmed in by our benefits. Who but a joyful and free fool would give up their insurance and pension? As beneficial as these can be -- they tend to control our lives, to wear us out protecting them, and to be useless against the reality of death.
Loving another as yourself is better than insurance. Loving GOD is better than a pension.
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