Lenten Reflection for February 19

photo of glass drops

Scripture: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

There once was a young boy (we can call him “David”) who went to a birthday party. When they cut the cake and passed the pieces around, most of the kids looked for the BIGGEST piece to take, but little Davey took the smallest piece. Mrs. Barnes, the hostess, noticed this. She was very impressed with this very unselfish act, so she said, “Look, everyone, Davey took the smallest piece of birthday cake. Wasn’t that polite of him? Then she said, “Now, Davey, as a reward, you may have ANOTHER piece.”

Everyone watched in awe as little Davey then went to take another piece. Mrs. Barnes presided over this, beaming happily at the wonderful object lesson she was giving to all of the little children there.

Then, of course, little Davey took the BIGGEST piece of cake left on the plate. We have no account of what Mrs. Barnes said after this, nor what the other little kids thought about what they had witnessed nor what they later may have said to little Davey, but we can surmise a bit if we wish.

This is a practical lesson in how to beat the system and maximize your gain!

It seems to resemble the story found in Matthew. Verses 1-6 and 16-18 would seem to be teaching us how to maximize our gain, maybe not in birthday cake, but spiritually. Still, this would encourage those who heard the story to at least substitute the reward of God’s blessing for the public admiration of others for their piety. But it still seems related to little Davey’s strategy. This is progress, we must admit.

But, verses 19-21, speak not of the admiration of others, but of something that is related to what is inside of us. I somehow think that Jesus’ motivation was not related to the first part of the story, with how he was seen by others (even by God) as much as it was related to what he had to do because it was right, regardless of the cost to him, or how others viewed his
actions.

I suggest that what is found in verses 19-21 motivated the church and the martyrs in the faith. When we are motivated by our faith, that is when we are at our best.

By Jim Smith

Prayer

O God, help us do your work in the world, not so others will admire us and make much of us, but because our love and actions come from the heart, the best place of all. AMEN

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