In Chapter 5, Dr. Chapman makes the strong point that God performed acts of service for the people of Israel. He also says that Jesus’ whole life was an act of service.
You and I perform acts of service and sometimes when we do, we have this hope that someone notices.
That’s not a bright, shining moment is it? Hard to admit?
Have you ever performed an act of service and no one noticed?
Jesus often told the people He helped “Don’t tell anyone.”
Wouldn’t He want others to find out so the power of His ministry could be known?
Not really. Some say that the “don’t tell anyone” admonition was to keep His ministry “low key.” In Mark, Jesus healed a man with leprosy and He told him not to tell anyone but the man disobeyed Jesus. As a result Jesus was swamped with people; word spread and He had to move to another location to minister.
Others say that after a miracle of healing, Jesus wanted the healed person to go to a priest to confirm the healing. If word got out before the visit to the priest, it would be declared a fraudulent healing. Going right to the priest without publicity guaranteed authenticity. Don’t tell anyone; go to the priest first.
Another explanation is that Jesus wanted the focus to be on the message, not on the healing itself. He knew the people would want to come and be healed and that was it. They would not care about His message for the world. He had a bigger vision.
His bigger vision can be seen in the words “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you really know Me, you would know the Father as well.”
What can a miracle do? It can distract.
What can an act of service do? It can distract.
It is meant to be done in love for another but it can bring credit to the giver and that is not always good.
Doing acts of service to get credit tarnishes the act itself.
I have always felt that another reason Jesus said “Don’t tell anyone” is because He was a humble but right-hearted giver. He did not want credit.
As human beings, we are often tempted to do service so we can make “points”. When that happens, we forget the words “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing.” [John 15:5].
If we bear fruit, we forget where it comes from. It comes from branches that are connected to the vine. Without that vine we are nothing. We would not bear fruit at all. Too many times we act like we produce the fruit on our own and that is not true. Really, it is God working through us.
Have you ever done something and someone notices and compliments you? You did it for God but what do you say to the other person?
“It was just God working through me?”
If you say that, others won’t understand. They are working in this world, not God’s world.
What if you have an opportunity to do an act of service? You don’t tell anyone. No one knows but the recipient and you.