Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Do not let your left hand know what your right is doing (Matthew 6:3)
“Your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” (Matthew 6:4)
Knowing that his time was short, Elijah asked Elisha to request anything he wanted. Elisha wasted no time in asking for a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit (2 Kings 2:9). This may sound like a huge request, but not when you consider the true Giver of this gift. Almighty God, the Lord and giver of life, delights in showering his children with gifts. He is so generous that every day he actively looks for ways to bless us.
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus warns against performing pious acts in public. He doesn’t want us flaunting our relationship with him. But in the next breath he promises that our Father will reward every “secret” act of prayer, generosity, and self-denial. And God is not stingy with his rewards!
What kind of gifts does our Father want to give us? The first, and best, is a closer relationship with him. It’s a relationship where we feel his love more deeply, and trust in his presence more fully.
He also wants to give us wisdom for our lives. Through his word, through his people, and through his Spirit, he wants to guide us in our decision making so that we learn how to act with justice, humility, and compassion in all our dealings.
Another gift he loves to give us is the gift of community. As we get closer to our Father, he introduces us to more and more of his children— our brothers and sisters. He gives us to each other so that we can encourage one another, experience his love through each other, and help bear one another’s burdens.
Like a waterfall, God’s blessings and grace flow over us whenever we set aside time for private prayer, whenever we fast from self-indulgence, and whenever we give generously of ourselves. Over time, these gifts change our hearts. Instead of walking gingerly through the day hoping nothing bad happens, we find ourselves walking in confidence and even joy. We find ourselves more convinced that God is with us, always ready to give us a double portion of his grace.
“Father, you are so generous! I want to receive everything that you have for me. I trust that you will fill me with good things.”