The Applause of God

8 Mar

God’s Word:  Matthew 6:1  Jesus said, “Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it.  It might be a good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.”

Jesus’ Message to Me: (My interpretation of what Jesus is saying to me through these verses)

You know what I mean don’t you?  There is a fine line drawn between “showing off” and performing a service from the heart for the good of others and the glory of God.  Praise from the people can often turn the heart of the performer onto self and away from God.  And it happens so naturally, so subtly, that you have to examine yourself to be sure your motives are on target.

What are you investing your time and energy into?  Are you doing it merely from habit?  Are you doing it for the approval you get from others?  Are you doing it because you feel God is using you as an instrument of loving service to others?  Beware—even if you have a pure and right motive, the applause of the crowd can lure your focus onto getting their approval. 

Follow my example and seek the applause of God!  Be the best employee you can, not just to get a raise or praise, but to honor God.  Be a good neighbor because you know that God loves them and wants them to feel your love since He isn’t there in person.  Share your passions in ways that honor God.  Set self aside and seek the good of others at all costs.  Forgive, forgive, forgive!  Love, love, love!  Serve, serve, serve!  Even when no one notices.

Jesus’ Question for Me: Are you doing your acts of service for the praise of men or the applause of God?

Jesus’ Promise to Me:  I know your heart and am at your side to encourage you on.

My Song to Jesus:    A Prayer of St. Francis, written by Johann Sebastian von Tempelhoff

Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love.
Where there is injury, thy Pardon, Lord.
Where there is doubt, let there be Faith.

Oh Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is despair, let me bring Hope.
Where there is darkness, let there be Light.
Where there is sadness, let there be Joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek:
To be consoled, as to console,
To be understood, as to understand,
To be loved, as to love.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow Love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.

And it’s in dying that we are born
To eternal life, to eternal life.
Lord, make me an instrument of thy Peace.
An instrument of thy Peace. Amen.

Author: A Prayer of St. Francis, written by Johann Sebastian von Tempelhoff

Most modern hymns are penned by Protestants, but one of the best ones from recent decades comes from a Franciscan named Johann Sebastian von Tempelhoff (1928-1997). Tempelhoff was a prolific singer and songwriter under the name Sebastian Temple. Born in Pretoria, South Africa, he was a Scientologist for a time before he converted to Catholicism.

This hymn is based on a traditional prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, though modern scholars usually credit a later Franciscan, Jacopo di Toddi.

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