I was waiting for spring break to come so I could finally write about things that have been happening in the past.. almost two months! But I decided I should probably just share when I feel compelled to, or whenever I write a testimony. Maybe during spring break I will also catch up on a few things, but who knows? So this is my reflection on bible study with H this week, on Matthew 6.
This whole chapter is just so good. Even the first half, which we didn’t focus on in bible study, speaks very strongly to me. I feel like it is so easy to do good things when we know that other people are looking, when we know that we’ll receive thanks or praise or approval when we volunteer or pray for others or give people help in public. It’s not necessarily a terrible thing to be seen doing things for others—I don’t think Jesus means that you have to go out of your way to be secretive about everything you do in His name—then we would miss the chance to be a good testimony or role model for others. But I think it’s important to examine the heart, and I pray that when I serve God or others it will be out of a genuinely loving spirit, unselfish, humble, and desiring to give all the glory and honor and praise to the Father instead of myself.
Verses 19-20 are also good reminders for me this week.
“19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”
I was very busy and caught up with rehearsals and performances for my play all of the last two weeks, and it was all really great and I gained a lot from the experience, and made good friends and really enjoyed myself, but in the midst of all that I often forgot to pray, to be still, to spend time with God. And I think that as lovely and rewarding earthly treasures are, I have to remember that even when things are great, there is something still greater, and that is the choice to center my heart in God’s love, to put my value and my valuables in his kingdom in heaven, where they really count, and where treasure is eternal. That can sound a little abstract sometimes, but for me I think it’s simply to keep my priorities straight, to really remember each day when I wake up and when I go to sleep, and all the times in between, that He is with me, I am His. I want to see everything from His perspective, to catch each moment and opportunity to love with His love and to speak to the people around me in a way that would make Him proud. To live each moment grounded in my knowledge that I am His daughter.
“21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The next few verses can be interpreted multiple ways, I think. It reminded me of a testimony from my little sister just this past summer about not filling your eyes and your mind with darkness in the movies and tv shows that you might watch, though you know you shouldn’t. It also calls attention to who and what we are looking at for guidance. Of course, if we let Jesus be our eyes, since he is the greatest light, the light of the world, then we will walk in the darkness as if in broad daylight! Psalm 139 says “even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” We never have to be afraid of anything.
This is why God tells us in the next passage, do not worry. If we just simply keep our eyes on Him, everything else will become clear. All of our troubles may not necessarily vanish in an instant, but we will overcome them. This last passage is very meaningful to me because God has used it multiple times already in my college career to refocus my eyes on him, to tell me to stop wasting my time and health worrying about every little thing, especially things pertaining to the future, because He knows where we’re going. It’s like when I go on vacation with my family—I never worry or plan anything or have to ask what we’re doing because I know that my parents (or my very ambitious sisters) will have everything under control. I just have to go along and enjoy myself, of course making myself useful too where needed.
Following God is kind of like that, but better. There’s no better trip planner than Him. This semester I’ve already experienced so much of God’s grace in this area, and I think it is really all because of Him and not by any strength of mine that I have not been stressed about work, even in the days when I had more than 7 hours of rehearsal a day. I feel like it should have been impossible, but with God all things are possible. And I’m looking forward to seeing how he is going to use my time (now that I have it) to teach me more and to use me to bless others. So don’t worry. Just be excited for whatever God is planning for you, and remember to say thank you along the way.
If you’re reading this, please keep my quiet times in prayer (that I’ll put time with God above everything else)!