(This is the sixth installment of The Awesomeness Conspiracy’s 2015 Lenten devotional on the Sermon on the Mount. Follow us to receive e-mail updates for each new post.)
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Love perfectly, Jesus said. Respect the worth and dignity of each person. Even those with whom we disagree.
Even those who would do us harm.
Lofty words. High ideals.
If the Pharisees in their righteousness cannot instruct us, what does it look like to put this perfect love into action?
I lift my eyes unto the hills. Where does my help come from?
The religious leaders make a great show of their piousness. Their worthiness is obvious.
My help comes from the Lord, creator of heaven and earth.
In secret. Jesus says to do it all in secret. As if one hand doesn’t even know what the other is doing.
It’s not about how others perceive your deeds of kindness, your acts of sacrifice, your stirring words of prayer.
You don’t need their approval.
For your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Whether in public or in private, pray like it’s just you and God.
Father…Your kingdom come. Make our lives like yours.
Show us how to love the way you love.
Feed us your very self.
Make us forgivers so we can experience your forgiveness.
Protect us from the trials we will face. Deliver us from persecution.
In this prayer, God’s way becomes our way.
This is no chant or charm, no formula for getting what we want.
It’s a door to a relationship. Where what we want becomes exactly what God wants.
What do you treasure? Your comfort? Your convenience? Your morality? Your power?
All these are so easily lost. In a moment, perhaps. Over time, certainly. Slowly, imperceptibly disintegrated by forces unseen.
But love. Love. There is a treasure which cannot be destroyed.
A heart of love sees things as they are. Undarkened by self-aggrandizement. Undimmed by self-indulgence.
Pure reality, bright and clear.
No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.
There is but one way to pursue Kingdom life. One reality to which to pledge our allegiance.
On earth as it is in heaven.