Preparation Week, Day 3
Start with 2 minutes of silence
Scripture : Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
6 “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
16 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
Devotional : Style over Substance.
By Pastor Jamie
“The best things in life cannot be talked about. The second best things are almost always misunderstood. So we spend out lives talking about the third best things.” Heinrich Zimmer
If you have watched any of the Netflix series, “The Great British Bake Off,” you will know that one of the common critiques made by the judges is “Style Over Substance.” In other words, “that cake looks beautiful…but it tastes horrible!” Ouch.
But, isn’t that how we often live our lives. It seems to be human nature to put a on veneer of strength, confidence, kindness, even deep spirituality as a means of covering up what’s really going on inside. We put on style instead of building substance. And, frankly, its easier. It’s easier to make a public show of praying than it is to intimately connect with God; easier to make a show of giving than it is to freely give with no strings attached; its easier to make a big deal about what you are giving up (fasting), making a show of your spirituality, than it is to allow fasting to draw you closer to God. Style over Substance.
It’s easier to make a public show of praying than it is to intimately connect with God
Lent can be a plum opportunity to further decorate the cake, a chance to show off how holy we are, or it can be an invitation to explore the truth of the ways we have wandered from God and covered it up with a good decorating job. The invitation of Jesus (and the invitation of Lent for that matter) is to pursue substance over style, to be honest before God and yourself about the places you have drifted away from God or let things slip and to return to Him with all your heart.
Question to Consider
Where have you let let things slip in between you and God? What ‘hidden’ practice would be helpful for you to take up, or, to ‘give up’ that will draw you closer to God during this season?
Jesus, I open my heart to you for a quiet and honest conversation. Reveal to me where I have wandered away from you and the ways in which I’ve allowed ‘style’ to cover for a lack of substance. I confess that “its easier to hold a sacred object, return to a memorable place or mimic transformative words than it is to trust and rely on new life*” in you. I want what is between us to be real, and deep and whole. Speak Lord, I’m listening. Amen.
Quoted from Richard Rohr
Conclude with 2 minutes of silence