Whew, y’all! I re-read what I wrote last week and I guess Jesus’ directness prompted my own. I should have tried to be more encouraging about the joy of participating in bringing about God’s Kingdom on earth, There is great joy in participating with God in all things because we come to know that we are beloved children. This is what Jesus wants us to discover as we follow him.

As we continue to look at Jesus’ sermon as Matthew recounts it for us, Jesus goes on to talk about the rewards of what we do. If we seek to prove ourselves better at religious activities than everyone else by our outward actions, we will get what we seek: the temporary and fickle recognition of showmanship. If we do what we do to deepen our relationship with God, we will get what we seek: the joy of knowing we are loved and enabled to love as God loves.

In the midst of this talk of earthly and heavenly rewards, Jesus teaches us a prayer through which we ask God to bring about the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. All that Jesus teaches and shows us is about participating with God in answering this prayer. God’s will, what God desires most is to be in loving relationship with us! All of us, each and every one of us, every single human being ever born (yep, even that person). As we continue to follow Jesus, this becomes the focal point of our worldview, so that we, like Jesus, fulfill God’s Law of Love.

Looking into our inner motivations is difficult work. Jesus asks the difficult questions (in the form of stories) not to condemn us and not to have us condemn ourselves or others, but to help us discover who and whose we are: God’s beloved children, God’s greatest treasure. Knowing this and letting God’s love be our guiding light is the greatest reward of all!

I pray you are encouraged!

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