I have a friend who shared with me that following an appraisal at work she has been told by her managers to follow the guidelines set out in her job description and listen to their advice with suggestions on how to be the worker they want her to be. In this week’s gospel lectionary reading we are given some useful guidelines and advice to help us be ‘The person we are meant to be’. Thankfully, Jesus’s guidelines and advice are clear and obtainable.
The reading is Matthew Chapter 10: verses 40-42
40“Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. 41Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward, and whoever welcomes a righteous person as a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward.”
In verse forty the guidelines given are that as followers of Jesus Christ we are expected to be REPRESENTING & REFLECTING. It is both humbling and challenging to think that we represent Jesus Christ. It is not just the way we behave that is important but also the way we think and speak represents Jesus Christ. It is no wonder that we need the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us, we can not represent Jesus very well in our own strength. We need to carefully consider what impression we give to those around us with our attitude and actions.
In verse forty-one the guideline given is that we should be RECEIVING the reward of living in the truth. As we recognise and acknowledge Gods kingdom principles we should be able to discern what is right and differentiate from what is worldly and not biblical. We will be rewarded with an understanding and blessing and not be deceived or compromised if we follow God’s righteous way of living.
In verse forty-two we will be REWARDED if we care for others. But please note Jesus is not saying that all your acts of compassion will necessarily be gratefully and graciously received by the benefactor. Jesus himself was often misunderstood and not recognised for his compassion. When our kindness is acknowledged that is a bonus for us but if there is no recognition from the person concerned the important thing is that God knows what we have done and after all we love because we are representing and reflecting Jesus Christ and that is the true reward.
My friend felt slightly threatened by her managers, she would have appreciated clearer guidance and advice to help her be the person they wanted her to be. Sometimes the governments guidelines can seem rather confusing. God lovingly provides guidelines and advice which admittedly are not easy to uphold but with his gentle way and his provision of the Bible and help from our fellow Christians, are obtainable. That is when we are truly blessed and have a sense of purpose and meaning that makes us the person we are meant to be.