Acts 8:32 ‘…“He was led as a sheep to the slaughter;
And as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
So He opened not His mouth…’

Jesus tells us to bear our trials quietly, privately. We don’t need go around making a great noise about how much we have suffered for the Lord and how painful our life is.

Let’s clean our face, look bright, dress our best and hide our suffering for Christ. The temptation is enormous to tell everyone how terrible our situation is and how heavy the pressure is, but we should resist it. I fear that like giving, we destroy the power of the seed of suffering when we use it to gain admiration or sympathy. The seed of suffering is destined to grow a great tree of blessing. We need that seed to stay underground, to sprout and grow. Don’t dig it up to show it off to everybody.

Jesus wants us to gain the greatest of rewards in life so He guides us with his teaching on the secret place and being authentic disciples.

Three times He promises rewards to those who conceal their devotion, whilst also warning that courting public applause negates the reward. God has no problem with deserving people receiving public acclaim. Jesus is not trying to prevent us receiving public recognition for well-earned achievements.

He is saying that God enables us to enjoy public success born of privately successful living. He tells the disciples the true route to 'greatness' is not the one the world travels. He tells them to serve and be the least, if they wish to be great. This is not inviting them to a ‘Claytons’ (pretended) greatness either. This kind of greatness is easily recognized by saint and sinner alike. The Australian company BHP had a slogan many years ago that landed well with a lot of Australians who felt it was a phrase describing us well, or at least it described the kind of people we would like to be. The Advertisement described the Australian company as the ‘Quiet Achiever’.

Reward is a legitimate element of a disciple’s motivation. Don’t let your sincerity tell you that rewards don’t matter. Of course they do. Consequence is hard-wired into our personal justice system. Rewards come from God both now in this life and in the one to come.

See you in church!

Phil PringleComment