I grasped the glass of water held out to me without a crack of a smile. My lips pursed with an uncaring attitude. Raising my eyebrows, I swept my hand across my body, dismissing my husband in a mere two words.
The slight flick of the upheld wrist coupled with the finality in voice released him without argument. No more talk. No more anything. I have what I want. You may go now. In fact, please do. Like one minute ago would have been too late.
It would all be severe except for the fact that I can't do it without the cheeky grin sure to form on my lips the second I've dismissed him. It gives me away every single time. Not only does it give me away, but it is also sure to cause a wry smile to form on his lips, too. He loves my playful nature. He gets my inside joke, laughing as he walks away.
Now, so you don't worry that I am nasty to my husband, allow me to be clear that he understands the movie reference from which my dismissal comes.
Can you guess it, too?
The Devil Wears Prada.
Meryl Streep's iconic "That's all" just delights me every time I watch the movie. [It's one of my top three favorites!] It speaks of dismissal. The desire for one thing. Finality. Meryl's character gains what she desires, and so she softly yet firmly dismisses the person standing in front of her.
As I read through Matthew 6, I couldn't help but notice a few "That's all's," phrased in a slightly different way with a slightly different take.
"So, when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, so that they will be praised by people. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." Matthew 6:2 NASB
"When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." Matthew 6:5 NASB
"Now whenever you fast, do not make a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they distort their faces so that they will be noticed by people when they are fasting. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full." Matthew 6:16 NASB
"They have their reward in full."
What is that reward?
They have the approval of mere men. Their ambition for glory is paid in full. Did they want acknowledgment? Well, now they've got it. But that's all there is. There's nothing more to gain.
They get what they wanted, yet they don't receive what truly matters and fully satisfies.
And just what could they have received?
Here is an Aleisha paraphrase of Matthew 6:3-4, 6, 17-18. But when you do a good deed, do not do it so that your motive is to be noticed by others. Do it without desiring to be recognized, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.
What if there's a reward greater than recognition? Greater than appreciation? Greater than approval?
What is that reward? A shiny crown? A gold star? Glorious circumstances? Heavenly chocolate that will never pack on the pounds? Nope. Let's see if we can figure out what the reward is.
"Reward" is mentioned early on in the story of humankind.
"Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; Your reward shall be very great." Genesis 15:1
Our reward will be great? I like this already. But still….what is it?
"Knowing that it is from the Lord that you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve." Colossians 3:24
Our reward is an inheritance. And that very next verse shares what that inheritance is.
Jesus Christ = inheritance = reward.
The approval of men is only a mere shadow of a greater reality. Paul knew this. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8
Our reward is Jesus Christ himself.
Jesus Christ just doesn't give us things; he gives us himself.
He is my . . .
He is not merely a container filled with such beautiful things; he is the very definition and essence of these things.
Instead, I am now the container of Christ and filled with Him. I have received each one of these things above BECAUSE I have received the person of Jesus Christ.
Do you desire these things? You first must have Jesus.
I just don't receive wisdom; I receive Jesus, who is that unto me.
I just don't receive every spiritual blessing; I receive Jesus, who is that unto me.
I just don't receive life; I receive Jesus who is that unto me.
It's Jesus himself. Full-stop.
There is a reward in knowing the very person of Jesus Christ. He fills. He satisfies. He provides life, and it is only found in himself. Nothing else can reward us more generous than a presence inside who is now our very source of life. Nothing. Not fame. Not recognition. Not appreciation. Not achievement. Not people-pleasing.
Do we truly get it? I have to admit. I forget. Often. I want "her" good thoughts about me. "His" recognition. "Their" appreciation.
If we desire the lesser thing, sure, we can get it, but there's so much more we already possess.
You want only the approval of mere men? Okay, you can strive for it, and possible even attain it, but it won't even come close to satisfying.
There's so much more found in a person.
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