Sounds Like Beauty to Me

Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them.
I can hear the birds chirping outside my window. Their joyous song plays throughout the day. Too often I don't hear it. It is in quiet moments of reflection that their song pierces my consciousness and romances my heart with its' beauty. Their chorus reminds me of other sounds that move my heart:

  • Hums - Before I was ever married my mom offered me a piece of advice I haven't forgotten. "As early as possible in the day, get your machines working for you." This sage admonition has punctuated many a day with peace. Their gentle whirring of the dishwasher or dryer settles my heart and allows it to focus on the priceless people who generate those dishes and clothes and not the chores that face me.

  • Buzzes - As daylight surrenders to evening I long for the vibration of the garage. Its' rattle signals my husband's return. It brings completion to our family and contentment to my soul. My love has come home.

  • Boings - Tender are the springs that sprinkle laughter around our back yard. The bounce of the trampoline is faint but it means giggles are sure to follow. The most precious symphony of chortles is the harmony produced when all four of my girls laugh at once. Our trampoline sends smiles from the backyard and onto my face.

Today I am studying Matthew 6. This is the second of three chapters that comprise Jesus' longest recorded sermon, The Sermon on the Mount. The theme of this passage is the danger of actions done to be seen by men.

Just as sounds around my house bring gladness to my heart, so do sounds bring joy to the heart of God:

  • Silent Service (Verses 2-4) - Endless opportunities to serve others present themselves each day. We can assist the homeless, elderly, impoverished or imprisoned. The question is not if God wants us to help others but rather how. When we lend a helping hand is that hand poised ready to clap our own praise? Or is our hand quietly serving preferring to be noticed only by God. It is the latter that pleases Jesus.

  • Whispered Prayers (Verses 5-15) - My favorite Christian song released in the last year is "Better Than a Hallelujah" by Amy Grant. The premise of this song is that God prefers gut-wrenching honesty offered in the midnight of our pain to insincere praise echoed for other's ears. God is less concerned with the length of and flowery words in our prayers and far more impressed with a heart that is honest with God.

  • Quiet Sacrifice (Verses 16-24) - Fasting, the practice of with staining from food to focus on God, is long out of fashion. In Jesus' day, people would don a gloomy expression and their worst digs to make certain everyone knew they were fasting. Whatever we offer as a sacrifice to God - sleep, money, time, energy or food - should be done with a glad heart. If I sacrifice to garner recognition, I actually didn't sacrifice at all. What I do without to honor God, should be done only for Him.

Jesus, thank you for these moments of silence spent with You. Today I can serve my family and make certain they know how hard I worked or I can choose the greater reward of serving You. I can mouth empty prayers that I think will impress others or I can choose to utter the sincerest cries of my heart to an audience of One. I can make sacrifices that are actually shows or I can give to You alone. I pray today that whatever I do generates a quiet chorus heard only by You. That sounds like beauty to me.

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