Monday, September 9, 2013
last week my son Johnny and I tried something sneaky.
What we did was not illegal, although many Christians consider it a sin or, at the least, as a thing contributing to the delinquency of adults.
It was just something I did not want anyone to know about.
We picked a time when nobody should have been around, but the staff of a nearby church was meeting and a secretary glimpsed us out the window. She asked the minister, “What are those two guys doing out by the dumpster”? The assembled staff watched us and… Busted.
Jesus once said, “Whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops”.
I asked the minister not to mention what we’d done, but… you guessed it: at church Sunday between six and ten people mentioned it to me.
Drat! Can’t keep anything secret. I felt so ashamed that anyone knew what I’d done. Wanted to crawl in a hole and hide.
Jesus did say that there are three things we ought to keep secret.
In His sermon from the Mount, He said, “When thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth. That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly”.
After my wife died and I took over the check book, I discovered that she had supported many charities that I’d know nothing about. She kept her giving secret.
And she used to tease me that I did Jesus one better: He said not to let your left hand know what your right is doing—Ginny said that most of the time my right hand does not know what my right hand is doing!
I suspect Jesus told us to give in secret so we would not feel embarrassed if other people knew how little we give.
Jesus also said that we are to pray in secret. “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret”.
Again, if people knew how little I pray, I’d be shamed. I once even wrote a book about prayer and it’s shameful to realize that at most I give God a nod of acknowledgement as I go about my own affairs, yet I’d like people to think of me as a godly man.
And when I pray aloud in public, I get a kick out of my own neat turns of phrase and clever eloquence and I gtet a kick when blue-haired old ladies say, “Mr. Cowart, that was a lovely prayer”. Wonder if God thinks so?
Jesus also said we are to fast in secret.
“When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly”.
This one, I got knocked!
Why, no one looking at my waistline will ever in this world guess how much I fast. It’s a secret.