Taking steps closer to God

Farmville Enterprise March 29, 2017

Our son Benjamin gave me a Fitbit activity tracker which I started wearing on my wrist last week.  Thanks to some amazing technology it tells me how many steps I have taken each day and analyzes my restful and restless hours of sleep. Several mornings after showering I found myself not wanting to take too many steps until I put on the Fitbit again, for fear that they would not be counted. Now, it certainly is understandable to want an accurate account of activity. There is nothing wrong with striving for solid numbers or specific data. It did make me think, however, about how easy it is to fall into a trap of believing that every accomplishment or good deed must be noted. Obviously the primary goal of devices like the Fitbit is to encourage users to become increasingly active. Actually taking additional steps is much more important than having a ledger say that you took more steps.

How often do we lend a helping hand, donate financially or perform religious acts so that we will be recognized or credited for them? Jesus addresses questions like these in the Sermon on the Mount, the longest continuous section of him speaking which is recorded in chapters 5-7 of the gospel of Matthew.

“’Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’” (Matthew 6: 1-6)

The ultimate purpose of the Fitbit is not to feel a vibration on your wrist when you reach the daily goal of 10,000 steps. The purpose is to encourage you to move more. The goal of the Christian is to become closer to and more like Christ. It is not to be recognized for our good deeds or spiritual acts. As Jesus told the Pharisees, we should clean the inside of our cup before concerning ourselves with the outside.

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