Thursday, September 22, 2011
Humility in Praying and Giving
“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. 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. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:1-6
Reflecting on my time in Ecuador, I was touched by the grace and humility of the native peoples we visited with. They came from a long distance, over a five hour drive, to be with us on Sunday. Despite the challenges of life, despite the economic and political trials, it was their joy to visit with us, to sacrifice time and the great expense to share with others. Their generosity and faith has taken root in my heart. Their genuine love and fellowship has inspired me to deepen my commitment to the service of others.
Jesus reminds us all today that it is human nature to be showy, and it is easy to be generous and holy when we are in the spotlight, surrounded by the press. The place where it means something is truly in the private places, in the generosity and kindness when no one is looking. God cares how we consider one another at home, in private, personal places, when the cameras are off. Are we willing today to be generous to the familiar poor, humble with family, friend and enemy? Are we truly willing to walk the walk today?
Today, I ask God to help me to be humble and generous in all things, never worrying about who knows, knowing God knows. May our hearts be ever humble so that we might, today, be the bearers of God's love and light to our world, where ever we are.