I remember the first time Matthew chapter six caught my attention. We were confined, our family of five, in our small Macgregor 26' sailboat in a rainy bay in Florida waters. We were anchored somewhere on the northwest side of the peninsula, suffering through a torrential downpour, the dampness of our bodies within a tiny space, filling the cabin with not so pleasant odors and temperaments. We had worn out the games, puzzles, and drawing/artwork supplies, now having moved on to reading and writing in our journals. At least that's what I was doing.
It felt funny and wrong to open my Bible to Matthew 6 and see the words of Jesus admonishing to not do the good and right things in life for approval or recognition. Because that's what I was doing. I was trying to be a good mom. I was just trying to get something right in this family memory gone wrong. I wanted my kids to notice that I was trying to make good food and for my husband to notice how brave and strong of spirit I was being in this very not so pleasant circumstance. I wanted to sound my trumpet about my heroic efforts of keeping the peace in our boat that long stormy night.
That was when God got my attention that if I was about anything good or right or brave, it would be in shutting my mouth of the knowledge I was imparting, to pouring my heart out to God about what was truly in there. I needed to stop being fake and to stop trying so hard to hold something together that I actually had no control over. It was only by the grace of God that I was able to do anything at all, and that it wasn't about me getting it right but what God was teaching me about doing my best out of my love for Him and His ways; no blue ribbons or trophies.
God keeps making things real. The circumstances are different but the lesson the same. 2020 has been full of humanitarianism, but not so much holiness. Neither one can be whole without the other. I could end with that statement but will try to explain.
Joining the humanitarianism going on in our world today is senseless if there is no holiness involved. It taints the effort, making it less effective. But holiness is certainly not easy or popular or even wanted. Here's a few synonyms of holiness: godly, righteous, sanctified, having virtues of goodness, perfection, and purity. Notice how acceptance and tolerance aren't a part of it? Possibly what turns people away from holiness; they have built a case against it in efforts of humanitarianism.
Which is sad because as I said before, one without the other isn't whole or complete. If you can join a humanitarian cause while remaining holy you have the power of God on your side. Big things will happen because you serve a Mighty God. And the big things that happen will be God doing it. YOU must not shout about it or blow your trumpet. Do it in secret. Don't let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Don't keep track of your goodness or what you gave or did. Just do it to the glory of God.
If you make an announcement about your achievements or try to force your agenda or plans on others, if you are all about the guilt and blame of nonacceptance and prejudices, you are like the hypocrites that stand in the streets to have glory of men. It'll be loud and noisy and in this era, it will momentarily take away the guilt and shame and make you feel like a good person. But it will leave you empty because you left out the most important aspect; God and His holiness.
I don't know about you, but I'd rather have both of what I am offered. I'd like to help and be a service to humanity, but I don't want to do on my own strength with my own logic. I want help from a Holy God to truly change the world around me; One who doesn't flake or fold or accept less than Who or What He says He IS. I don't want my goodness, if there is any, to be a feel good about myself reason for doing it. If I cause someone to do better or be better, to be kinder and more loving, I want it to be because Christ died for me and loved me in my human unlovable state. I want to pass it on that way, without a lot of hoopla or commotion.