• kentchevalier

by Kent Chevalier

Let me start off by saying that I’m guilty of what I’m about to write. However, in the last few years and weeks, God has been convicting me of my motives.

Since the meteoric rise of social media, the serving and philanthropic work of churches, non-profits and businesses has been blasted across our feeds. It’s not a new concept, but it’s in our faces now more than ever. There are livestreams and Instagram posts of churches serving public schools and doing neighborhood prayer walks. Businesses are making commercials to show their community service with their logo in the corner of the screen throughout. Non-profits are highlighting the clients they’re helping while flashing statistics that conclude with their website.

I am struggling with this public display of serving. Most of us would look at this and think it’s great. I do too, but I also question my/their motives.

Jesus preached a famous sermon on this very topic. In what is now referred to as the ‘Sermon on the Mount,’ Jesus said,

"Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-4)

Jesus refers to two groups and two rewards.

Jesus said don’t be like the trumpet blowing hypocrites. Ouch. Consider me Miles Davis. I’m that guy. What about you?

I don’t want to be that guy anymore. This is where God has been working on my motives. I didn’t even realize that I was doing it, or maybe I did, but I still wanted people to see me doing the things that Jesus said to keep secret. I can be a good actor (hypocrite).

He said that all of the Louis Armstrong givers have already received our reward. Recognition of others. More business. Applause of men. Social media followers. Funds raised. All of these seem to fall short of the second reward.

Jesus said to be a secret server. Be a quiet giver. He went so far as to say don’t even let your left hand know what your right hand is giving.

Do Jesus’ words “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing” mean we should never let others know? Not necessarily. The focus is on the motive. Our serving and generosity is to be motivated by our love for God and our focus on eternity rather than the temporary praise of people. Because of the temptation for pride that comes with public displays of generosity, it is best not to draw attention to ourselves and our gifts to those in need.

What is the second reward? Jesus is not really specific here, but you get the sense that it’s better than accolades and temporary recognition. I’ve come to trust that his ways are better than mine.

God does not always define reward the same way we do. When we think of God rewarding us for obeying His commands and doing life His way, we usually think of tangible, material goodies. But God has eternity and eternal rewards in mind.

God’s been taking me to school on this. Like I said at the beginning, I have been the ‘Dizzy Gillespie’ of public displays of serving, but I want to get better at following Jesus’ instructions. I want to get better at secret serving.

What about you?

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  • kentchevalier

Updated: Jan 31

by Kent Chevalier

Been doing a lot of thinking on what it means to be a good dad.

When I deep dive on this it makes me quite sad

to discover that most people I know were wounded in some way

by a man that was supposed to provide and convey

a good earthly image of God the Perfect Father.

None of us can ever measure up to that, so why even bother?

The image of God we carry around in our hearts and minds

impacts the way we live our daily lives.

The worse the father wound, the worse the Heavenly Father's image.

So many enemies can rob this precious stewardship.

Satan himself. Man's inadequacies. Cultural shifts.

Unforeseen circumstances and mission drift.

A dad's purpose is to love and shepherd his kids,

but positions, pleasure and paychecks become more important instead.

Climbing an invisible ladder and impressing your neighbors.

This self-inflicted pressure can make a dad's purpose waiver.

Tight-roping that fine line of authority, encourager, confidant and friend.

A dad's responsibilities will be tested and never come to an end.

I've discovered the journey is very exhausting yet beyond rewarding.

No matter how good I think I've done, there's always more I could be doing.

I want to be a dad that leads my daughters to lean on God and not men

in all things but especially when matters of the heart are at hand

The best thing I can do is point each of my girls to God their Perfect Father

because I can't even compare to His love for her.

I have to wage war on the depressing thoughts in my mind

that I'm going to warp their view of God over time.

I have to fight to be faithful by loving and caring for each of them.

I cannot be the perfect dad because that role is already taken,

and I trust that God loves each of my daughters perfectly

enough to overshadow my mistakes and the worst of me.

I also have to reconcile that wounds are not always inflicted

but scars can still form from words and actions misinterpreted.

When God gave me the gifts of each of my three daughters,

He also gave me the responsibility of pointing them to their Heavenly Father.

I want to steward them in His perfect love and grace,

and I have to fight everything else that will get in the way.

Oh God, be my Helper. Please, God, be my guide.

It's obvious that I cannot win this fight, so it's in You I abide.

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  • kentchevalier

Updated: Jan 30

Snow fall followed by salt

Beauty on the grassy hills

Slushy grey and nasty spills

Scenic bridges covered in white

Borough plow trucks jolt to life

Neighbors helping neighbors dig out

Yet over a parking chair they'll fight and shout

Obscenities and profanities while holding a grudge

Don't judge, you also have limits where you won't budge

Life is a lot like winter in Pittsburgh

A beautiful mess that causes joy and concern

Simultaneous wonder and worry

Forced to slow down especially when you're in a hurry

Barely making it up the hill without sliding back down

Loving thy neighbor while faking a smile

White as snow out the outside with others

Dark and slippery on the inside under cover

Each day brings an opportunity to choose what we see

The beauty of snow covered trees or the beast of the unplowed streets

The uniqueness of each snowflake or the accumulation that must be shoveled

The purity of an untouched field or the trouble of unmoving traffic

May we opt for marvel over madness and splendor over stress

We can decide to introduce light to drive out the shadows of darkness

It is possible to train the eye to seek and see the good even amidst the gray

So, what do you say? Let's choose wonder on this Pittsburgh winter day.

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