A quick review of the last couple of days: Jesus had taught the Parable of the Sower and followed the explanation He gave His disciples with three distinct statements, two of which we’ve already looked at: Luke 8:16 and 8:17. In verse 16 the Lord says that “No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.” We believers are to shine the Light within us to show those who don’t know Jesus: (1) where they are – separated from God; and (2) how to get out of that place – how to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
He next says that “there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17).
Yesterday I applied two lines of thought to this verse: (1) Even our “secret sins” are known to God and those we don’t confess and ask forgiveness for “will… be… brought out into the open” on the day we stand before the Lord. (2) “The mystery of the Gospel” can’t remain “hidden.” If you know Jesus, His indwelling Holy Spirit compels you to share that Good News with others.
But I think we can also see a third line of thought in Jesus’ Luke 8:17 statement: Don’t ever think that the tiniest thing you do for the Kingdom won’t go rewarded. In Matthew 6, Jesus said to “Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.” He goes on to say that when we do perform any act of kindness – He specifically speaks of giving money – that we should do so as discreetly as possible. And then He adds a word about private prayer: “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father” (v. 6).
In other words, do nothing “to be seen my men” (Matthew 6:5). When I think of these verses, I immediately think of a wonderful man who was a member of our former church. Whenever he was called on to pray, he prayed so quietly that someone standing near him usually had to say “Amen” to let the congregation know that the prayer had ended. One day I was standing near this man when someone turned to him and said, “You’re gonna have to pray louder. We couldn’t hear you.” This humble man looked at that person and softly said, “I wasn’t talking to you.” This man wasn’t trying to impress anyone with some flowery prayer – he was simply talking to his Father.
Twice in Matthew 6 Jesus tells His listeners – when He speaks of giving discreetly in Verse 4 and when He speaks of praying in privacy in Verse 6 – He concludes with the same statement: Do these things without making a public spectacle of yourself and “then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
That kind word you speak to a coworker won’t go unrewarded. That money you give to help feed the homeless at a Christian mission won’t go unrewarded. NOTHING you do in obedience to your Lord Jesus Christ will be unrewarded.
“You see, if you take pains and learn in order to get a reward, the work will seem hard; but when you work... if you love your work, you will find your reward in that.” (Leo Tolstoy)