“And your Father, who sees in secret will repay you.” – Matthew 6:4,6
It was the smallest of comments really.
If I weren’t in such desperate need of hearing it, I may not even have heard it.
But as I lay resting in the hospital recovering from my second c-section (and rather enjoying the fact that if I needed anything all I had to do was push the “call” button and it would be done for me–yay, nurses!), I had a roomful of visitors with me. Between my in-laws, my parents, my husband, our toddler son, and our new infant son the room was near maximum capacity. Babies really are such a blessing! But motherhood doesn’t come without its trials, of course, and I was already beginning to worry about how I would handle an active toddler, a newborn baby and a husband who worked long hours once I returned home and our families returned to theirs. My heart grew weary just thinking of it. Then, there it was, all I needed to hear floated above the chatter of the varying conversations in the room. I heard my dad’s voice rise above the others saying, “The three of us have only had to watch [the two-year-old] since yesterday and he’s already completely worn us out.” Then he turned and grinned at me. “Yep. He wore out all three of us, and all we had to do was half of what Lisa does every day.”
And there it was. Everything and nothing in those few sentences.
Every part of validation, affirmation, encouragement, reassurance, admiration, appreciation, confidence, trust. One big giant Atta girl! You got this!
No part of criticism, judgment, unsolicited advice, doubt or skepticism. No You really need to step up your game, or else!
I sometimes forget that God wants to encourage me, not condemn me. I get so busy focusing on my own self-critical voice pointing out all the ways in which I fall short that I forget to listen for Him telling me that He sees my efforts…and they are good!
Enter Jesus, the Living Word.
Jesus tells us not once, but three times today (I think that means it’s important!) in His sermon on the mount that our “Father, who sees in secret” and “sees what is hidden” will repay us. He says this in the context of the unseen, unnoticed things we do for or give to others (almsgiving); the unspoken desires and longings churning deep in our hearts (prayer), and the self-serving things we give up or let go of in the interest of a greater good (fasting)…all within the context of doing these things without gaining acclaim from anyone.
And to each of these things, Jesus assures us, “God sees you. God will repay you. God sees you. God will repay you. God sees you. God will repay you.”
And just how will God repay us? Why, with Himself of course! The more we do for God, the more we become like Him: loving, kind, patient, caring, joyful, generous and peaceful.
And the more we become like Him, the more we can share Him with others. That is the good news!
So, as we venture out into this desert of Lent, let’s remember to keep our hearts open for the Living Word of our Father. Much as my dad’s words have carried me over the years as I’ve journeyed through motherhood, so, too, will our Father’s Word carry us as we journey through this season.
Pray: Lord, thank you for your generous love and your encouraging Word. I thank you for all the blessings in my life, and for helping me shoulder the burdens that come my way. I am grateful I can always count on you to be there for me. Help me to give generously, love deeply and walk humbly with You. Amen.